Two militant suspects killed in police raid on Kenyan coast
By Joseph Akwiri
MOMBASA, Kenya (Reuters) - Kenyan police shot dead a Muslim cleric suspected of ties to Somalia's al Shabaab militants in the city of Mombasa on Sunday, the latest in a string of raids against alleged sympathisers of the Islamist militants along the east African coast.
Local residents said gunfire erupted in the early hours when police broke into Omar Faraj's house in the city's rundown Majengo district, the same area where the radical preacher Aboud Rogo, shot dead in August by unknown gunmen, held sermons.
Riot police patrolled Majengo's garbage-clogged streets and tensions ran high in the morning, raising fears of a repeat of the deadly rioting that broke out after Rogo's killing.
Police said a man arrested on Saturday carrying grenades on a bus to Mombasa had led them to Faraj's house. He was also killed by gunfire during the raid, police said, without explaining the exact circumstances.
Neighbours said they collected dozens of spent bullet cartridges and tear gas canisters.
"We have compelling reason to believe that the suspects had ties with a terrorist organisation. We are linking them with al Shabaab," John Gachomo, deputy criminal investigation officer for Kenya's Coast region, told Reuters.
He declined to give further details, saying two more suspects being held in custody were providing information.
The August clashes in Mombasa exposed the social, political and sectarian divides that run deep along the Swahili coastline, including across the border in Tanzania , and raised the spectre of more violence ahead of Kenya's presidential election next year. Continued...