MANDERA – Scores of angry Kenyan Muslim youth have protested the killing of two Muslim scholars in the north eastern province of Mandera at the Somali borders at the hands of security forces over allegations of being affiliated to militant group Al-Shabaab.
"The protest was quelled by police," Abdullahi Alas, a local resident, told Anadolu Agency by phone on Monday, June 2.
"I could hear sporadic gunfire over and about Meta Meta estate and the bus terminus in the heart of Mandera town," he said.
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The protests, mainly called by angry Muslim youth, followed the killing of two Muslim scholars at the hands of Kenyan police. The diseased scholars, Sheikhs Hassan Black and Hassan Muhumed, were both killed late Sunday by police who accused them of planning attacks in Mandera.
The protesters in the north-eastern town of Mandera say the scholar were well-known religious figures, and had nothing to do with al-Shabaab.
"I have been told by people close to the two that they were under the radar of the police," said Alas, who had been a follower of the two slain men.
"Their only crime was to preach Islam," he claimed.
Police, however, claimed that the two were planning to carry out an attack in Mandera town.
"Our officers had prior information of this militias coming to attack Mandera town. And at around 11 pm local time, they entered our borders and our officers led by those from the Kenya Defense Force opened fire at them. They then retaliated back," Mandera County Commissioner Michael Ole Tialal told The Star.
"Our officers plea for them to stop failed as they instead started shooting back at them and hurling grenades. It is at this moment that two of them were gunned down," he added.
Kenya Muslims have been sensing eradication of their rights after their country was involved in the so-called war on terrorism in East Africa.
Supported by UK and US, Kenya's anti-terror police have been accused of targeting innocent Muslims with arbitrary arrests and disappearances.
Muslims problems increased following last September Westgate mall attack in which more than 60 people were killed, the attack which was claimed by Somalia's militant al Shabaab group.
Believing that both scholars were victims of an extrajudicial killing, Muslim youth lamented widespread stereotypes about Muslims.
"Anyone preaching Islam here is seen as a threat to the government and an anti-Christian, which isn't so," Abdullahi Alas, another supporter of the slain scholars, told AA.
"Some Muslim scholars have now become targets."
Located less than 100 meters from the Somali town of Buulahawo, Mandera has witnessed several recent attacks.
Salah Maalim, a lawmaker, urged authorities to respect people.
"The last thing we want to see is Mandera turn into another Eastleigh, with swoops and random arrests of the locals," he told AA after police went door to door in search of suspects and weapons.
Eastleigh is a Somali populated neighborhood of Nairobi locally known as "Little Mogadishu."
The city has been targeted several times by massive security sweep which resulted in the arrest or monitoring of thousands of Muslims.
"We expect the police to show respect to Mandera residents and abide by the rule of law, as we try to deal with the fighting overflowing from Somalia and ongoing inter-clan clashes," said MP Maalim.
The Mandera scholars are not the first to be killed recently in Kenya.
Makaburi, a prominent Kenyan Muslim scholar, was killed as he left a court compound about 15 km north of the port city of Mombasa on April 1.
Imam Makaburi’s death revived angry emotions among members of the religious community in the coastal area, where most of Kenya's Muslims live, over past killings of Muslim imams.
Last October, Muslim scholar Ibrahim “Rogo” Omar was gunned down in Mombasa.
His killing was similar to that of imam, Aboud Rogo Mohammed, who was killed in August 2012.
Another unresolved murder of a Muslim preacher is that of Samir Hashim Khan who was allegedly pulled from a public bus in Mombasa in April 2012 by men who identified themselves as police officers.
A few days later, Khan’s badly mutilated body was found dumped, several hundred kilometers away in a wildlife park. Police investigations have yielded no fruits.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here
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