Kenya arrests 657 after blast, Muslim scholar killed

A prominent Kenyan scholar was shot dead as some residents accused police of using excessive force and arresting innocent people.

Kenya arrests 657 after blast, Muslim scholar killed

World Bulletin / News Desk

Kenyan police have arrested 657 suspects in Nairobi's mainly Somali neighborhood of Eastleigh following explosions that rocked the area one day earlier and killed six people.

"This act of cowardice perpetrated against innocent and peace-loving Kenyans who were going about their normal activities is barbaric; immediate action has been taken by our security agencies," Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku said in a statement mailed to Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.

Six people were killed and at least 25 others, including women and children, were injured late Monday when twin explosions hit Nairobi's Eatsleigh district.

Officials at the Kenyatta National Hospital, Kenya's main public referral hospital, confirmed to AA that two blast victims were in critical condition.

The attacks targeted two restaurants that stand less than 200 meters away from each other on Eatsleigh's 12th Street.

The restaurants are among the district's few eateries that do not serve Somali cuisine and are mostly frequented by non-Somali Kenyans.

A police source close to the investigation also confirmed a third attack.

He said the attackers had thrown hand grenades at the two restaurants and a bus stop before fleeing the scene.

Secretary Lenku said the manhunt would continue until the perpetrators were arrested, urging residents to cooperate with security personnel and volunteer any information they had about the attacks.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the blasts, but in the past, Somalia's Al-Shabaab militant group has been blamed for such attacks.

The East African nation has remained on high alert since militants attacked Nairobi's Westgate Mall in September of last year, killing 67 people.

The attack was claimed by Al-Shabaab, which said it was a reprisal for Kenyan military involvement in Somalia.

Prominent scholar killed

Two Muslims, including a scholar, were gunned down late on Tuesday by unidentified men in Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa.

Mombasa police boss Robert Kitur said that Sheikh Abubakar Shariff, popularly known as Makaburi, and a yet unidentified colleague were killed.

The two were shot dead in the Shanzu area in Mombasa while driving along the Mombasa-Lamu road.

Police chief for Kisauni area Richard Ngtia told journalists that Makaburi and another man were outside the court waiting to be picked up when another vehicle approached and the men were sprayed with bullets.

"Our brother Abubakar Shariff Makaburi has left us. He is dead," a preacher at a mosque in Kisauni, a Muslim-dominated area near Mombasa, said through a loudspeaker.

"May his soul rest in peace. He has died a brave death."

A Reuters witness saw Makaburi's corpse with bullet wounds to the body and head, before police took it away. Dozens of Makaburi's supporters gathered nearby demanding police hand over the corpse. Police fired in the air to disperse the crowd.

Makaburi was the most outspoken cleric in Kenya's coast region and enjoyed a huge following.

He preached at the Shuhadaa Mosque, which was raided by Kenyan police in February on charges of being used to radicalize young Muslims.

A local resident of Majengo, the neighborhood where the mosque is located, told AA that tensions were high as youths loyal to the slain cleric had barricaded roads to protest his murder.

Makaburi had been listed by the UN as a recruiter for the Somali rebel group Al-Shabaab.

He had publicly said that as long as Kenya continued to have its soldiers in neighboring Somalia it should expect more attacks on its soil.

He was due to appear in court this week in connection with a 2010 grenade attack in Nairobi that left one person dead.

"I know I will be killed," Makakuri had told Reuters in October, saying the police would seek ways to justify shooting him. "I'm ready to die for it. If they want to or if they don't, they will give me martyrdom."

Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Nisan 2014, 10:13