Shifting shapes of al-Shabab

Mombasa Mosque story


MOMBASA – Husni Mburak, X years old, strides into the Driftwood club, one of the last young clean cut Swahili of Yemeni descent. once a sleepy port town is now a hectic spared of skyscrapers but now synonymous with drugs and but spared the excesses of skyscrapers. It is laid back representing the residents who are unlike upcountry tribes is not a culture predisposed of violence. It has a very ancient or old feel to it.
While the majority of youths are unemployed many are poor and frustrated with the government they are not predisposed to violence but predisposed to brain washing. Says Goldsmith.
The youths were told they would get free lunch and soft drinks at the mosque a rally to introduce Jihad. Flyers were distributed early in the week (January 26th). Another flyer was distributed Friday January 31, 2014.
But what was apparently intended as a peaceful rally
On Sunday February 2nd the meeting. A riot occurred at Masjid Mussa Mosque in the heart of Mombasa Sunday February 2 2014 leaving two dead, several injured. Often described as a controversial mosque since it’s known that radical islamists have preached there several times. Many of them have wound up dead.
At first there were just 50 attendees who arrived in the early morning at the rally then it swelled up to 300 by noon, says Human rights Hussein. Check Hussein’s quotes to Daily Beast ((http://trendingnewsroom.com/readfeed/25793/qa/two-killed-in-mombasa-masjid-musa-fighting)))

Then the black flags appeared rolled down from the top of the mosque. The flags bore the shahad a typical muslim prayer. What most disturbing however were the images of AK 47s also on the flag.
At around X time police reportedly stormed the mosque and began shooting. Youths responded by throwing rocks at the police.
A policeman was reportedly stabbed in the face.
Police rounded up and arrested 129 youths (including one woman) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-26013964
and tossed them into a slammer called Shimo la Tewa prison outside of Mombsa. Same prison that houses pirates.
According to the Star the women were arrested for cooking rice for the rally attendees. ((http://trendingnewsroom.com/readfeed/25793/qa/two-killed-in-mombasa-masjid-musa-fighting)))
Mombasa police told reporters they were “on a mission to remove radical paraphernalia from the mosque when they faced resistance from the youth.”
This raid follows Kenya’s crackdown on muslim youths in the wake of the westgate mall attack last September that left at least 67 dead and for which the al qaeda linked Somali militant group al shabab took responsibility.
A spate of grenade attacks has plagued Kenya’s south coast as well as small explosion at a coffee shop (CK) at Jomo Kenyatta international airport. Initially police chief KX said it was an exploding light bulb. (also find the tweet) ((http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-26013964)))
Police told reporters they recovered a slain GSU officers rifle that youths made away with – (change wording) ((http://trendingnewsroom.com/readfeed/25793/qa/two-killed-in-mombasa-masjid-musa-fighting))) and a “brand new AK 47 wrapped in a jihad flag and hidden in a toilet in the mosque.” Reported in Star. ((http://trendingnewsroom.com/readfeed/25793/qa/two-killed-in-mombasa-masjid-musa-fighting)))
Reporter at the scene said they saw police shoot and kill one person as they tried to disperse the rally. (((http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/riot-outside-kenyan-mosque-linked-to-terrorists/2014/02/02/2b9d7406-8c19-11e3-9ed8-259977a48789_story.html)))
Others feel it might have been a set up.
Police reportedly fired live rounds and teargas and later told BBC they were shot at. (change wording) (((http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-26013964)))
However Reuters reported they fired rubber bullets (((http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/03/us-kenya-unrest-mombasa-idUSBREA120H020140203))
Al Shabaab conducting its own crackdown

Senior Mombasa CID officer Henry Ondieki told the Daily Nation that the youths had distributed flyers on jihad at the mosque earlier in the week. (change wording).”it was purely radicalization taking place at the mosque. They were using children as young as 7-year olds as shields when police stormed the mosque.”
“Why did the police wait until Sunday before responding. They knew this meeting was happening,” MRC
told The Daily Beast. MRC no stranger to radical police tactics.

Indeed, Muslim community on coast feels marginalized. They resent the vilification by the government and mainstream media. They do mix politics and religion as far as a social movement is concerned QUOTE. For some who are angry at the thieving government their religion and their families are all many seem to have.
Unlike Al Shabab and other radical Islamists MRC is a pacifist social movement . Nonetheless the group was banned by the Kenyan government in 2012 after a series of X was blamed on the group.
“Jihad doesn’t necessarily connote violence, “said first Imam I spoke with. “It means struggle.”
Quote the PPO
Get into how police have lost credibility – Goldsmith –
Radical Islam makes up a fraction of the Muslim population.
Yet in the background something more sinister going on.
In august 2012 radical muslim cleric Aboud Rogo who preached at the mosque was killed by unknown gunmen and who police accuse of fund raising and recruiting for al shabab.
And last October unidentified gunmen killed a cleric and three others “in a hail of bullets” (((http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/riot-outside-kenyan-mosque-linked-to-terrorists/2014/02/02/2b9d7406-8c19-11e3-9ed8-259977a48789_story.html)))

Beginning in November a rash of assassinations and murders occurred in and around Mombasa and Malindi.

On December 14 a British pensioner was found beheaded in his apartment in Mtwampa also known as a famous destination for Europeans (QUOTE) who flock here to pick up hookers. Authorities believe he had been dead two weeks before he was found in his villa. Putting his death at Nov 30th. Not discovered until Dec 14.
His 30-something girlfriend was arrested.
Sunday Dec 1 Faiz Rufai was kidnapped from his home tortured for three days then discover

Categories: Conflict In Context - Field NotesTags: , ,

Margot Kiser | Conflict in Context

I am a Kenya-based American correspondent, focusing on conflict in East Africa. I have contributed to Newsweek, Al Jazeera, The Daily Beast, among others.

Follow me on Twitter: @margotkiser1

Best long read ByLiner 2011 for my Newsweek feature, 'Pirates in Paradise' http://byliner.com/margot-kiser/stories
http://www.newsweek.com/authors/margot-kiser

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