Firebrand Muslim scholar killed in Kenya's Mombasa
By Magdalene Mukami, Tuesday, April 01, 2014
MOMBASA, Kenya – Two Muslims, including a firebrand scholar, were gunned down late Tuesday by unidentified men in Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa.
Mombasa police boss Robert Kitur told Anadolu Agency 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.
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 militant 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.
Makaburi had justified last September's Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi in which 67 people were killed. The attack was claimed by Al-Shabaab.
He was due to appear in court this week in connection with a 2010 grenade attack in Nairobi that left one person dead.
It is not clear who was behind the killing of Makaburi and authorities have yet to issue an official statement.
But he was killed in the same manner as two other Muslim scholars and associates; Sheikh Ibrahim Omar and Sheikh Aboud Rogo.
The two were killed on the same road and in a similar manner, albeit in separate incidents almost a year apart.
All three slain clerics belonged to or had connections with the Shuhadaa Mosque.
Kenyan human rights activists had protested the killing of Omar and Rogo as extrajudicial killing by Kenyan security forces.
Speaking at a meeting in Mombasa last week, Makaburi seemed to have prophesied his murder.
"I am on a hit list scheduled to be killed at any time, and I know I will be killed," he said in Kiswahili.
"They say that I am threatening the lives of other people. Why is my life also threatened?" Makaburi asked.
He went on to say: "I am the only person in this room who has had all his friends murdered. I don’t have even a single friend. Anyone who comes close to me dies."
In the same speech Makaburi accused security forces of trailing him.
"A few days ago members of the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) were somewhere outside my home. I followed them to their vehicle and told them to take a message to their bosses," he recalled.
"I told them all my friends are dead and I want them to allow me to follow them," Makaburi told the meeting.
"I am tired, just fire one bullet in my head so that I go and join my friends," he recalled telling the security personnel.
Additional reporting by Yassin Juma
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