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Police battle Muslim youth in Mombasa for second day

04 February 2014, 09:11

Mombasa - Police engaged stone- throwing Muslim youth in streets of Mombasa for the second day on Monday after two people were killed and dozens injured in the similar chaos the previous day.

The confrontation between police armed with rubber bullets and the youth forced businesses near the Masjid Musa Mosque to shut down as roads were blocked and cars smashed in the tourism resort city.

The youths had barricaded the streets along the slum and were stoning vehicles before they were later over powered by the anti-riot police.

They were demanding the release of their colleagues who were arrested during fighting after police stormed a meeting in Masjid Musa Mosque for alleged recruitment for Al- Shabaab, the Somalia-based group linked to Al-Qaida.

"We will not rest until those who were arrested on Sunday are released," shouted one of the protesters as police engaged them in running battles.

Some 129 radical youths arrested on Sunday were arraigned in court ion Monday, when they were charged with being connected to the Al-Shabaab terrorist group.

Senior Resident Magistrate James Wambura ordered the suspects remain in remand at the for five days to allow the prosecution to complete investigations into the allegations.

The protests came as Muslim leadership wants police to take stern action against radicalized youth in Mombasa out to cause chaos in mosques in the name of Islam.

Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM), an umbrella organization of Muslims in the country, told a news conference in Nairobi that there is a scheme by a section of hardened youths to take leadership of all mosques in the country through violence and use them to agitate for radicalism.

"We fully support the current imams and leadership of all mosques and Muslim institutions in Kenya. Changes in structured and functional Muslim bodies can never be succumbed to the whims and threats of such groups," SUPKEM Secretary General Adan Wachu said.

He said the Muslims top leadership will not allow the youths to oust the current leaders of mosques and urged state security to identify the groups and take action on them.

Wachu who was reacting to Sunday and Monday's chaos in Mombasa in which two people were killed condemned the action by the youths which he termed as criminal and uncivil deeds and added that Islam has a well cultured, mannered and Islamic way of doing things. "As we call upon the government to take stern action on them but not to shut down the service at the affected mosque, we call upon all Muslims to be united against this monster Islam is not terrorism nor is terrorism Islam," he said.

- Xinhua


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