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One dead after protesters throw grenade at police in Kenya, official says

By David McKenzie and Lillian Leposo, CNN
updated 8:27 PM EDT, Tue August 28, 2012
Kenya: Muslim cleric Aboud Rogo Mohammed, who faced charges relating to terrorism, was killed Monday.
Kenya: Muslim cleric Aboud Rogo Mohammed, who faced charges relating to terrorism, was killed Monday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: One police officer is killed when protesters throw a grenade in Mombasa
  • Aboud Rogo Mohammed was accused of supporting Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia
  • Kenya Police are disappointed there will be no trial, a spokesman says
  • Rogo's wife, Hania Said, claims the shooters were Kenyan police

Nairobi, Kenya (CNN) -- Protesters threw a grenade at a vehicle carrying anti-riot police in Mombasa Tuesday, killing one officer and wounding 13 others, a police official said.

The violence came on the second day of protests after a radical Muslim cleric was killed in the same city Monday by assailants his wife claims were police.

Provincial police chief Aggrey Adoli told CNN the police were on their way to help beef up security because of the ongoing riots. An unknown perpetrator hurled a grenade at the police truck, causing the fatality and injuries. The wounded are being treated at two hospitals in Mombasa, Adoli added.

Earlier, protesters barricaded roads with stones and blocked access to and from the Majengo neighborhood, where Aboud Rogo Mohammed often preached. Demonstrators stopped vehicles from coming into or leaving the area, and threw stones at police, who responded with tear gas.

Kenyan kids lured to join Somalia fight
Kenya's war with Al-Shabaab militants

The radical Islamic cleric, who faced charges relating to terrorism, was killed in a daylight ambush Monday morning in the coastal city of Mombasa, Kenya police said.

Aboud Rogo Mohammed was accused of supporting Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia and was blacklisted by the United States and the United Nations Security Council. He also faced charges before a Kenyan court for planning terror attacks in Mombasa, Kenya's second-largest city and a popular tourist destination.

Kenya Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said Monday authorities were taking Rogo's death seriously.

"It is disappointing to us, because we had a case in court and we had evidence to go to its logical conclusion," Kiraithe said.

But Rogo's wife, Hania Said, claimed Monday the shooters were Kenyan police.

Kiraithe dismissed that claim and asked for the public to give the police information.

"That can only be nonsense," he said. "For what conceivable reason would that happen? What we need is for everyone to cooperate without any fear. We have a witness protection program now."

Rogo's wife said the cleric was traveling with his family in a van on the Mombasa-Malindi highway when they were ambushed by a group of men who shot her husband more than a dozen times.

She said she was shot in the leg and Rogo's father was shot in the hand.

Their van, a 14-seat white Nissan, was riddled with bullets and splattered with blood. Police tried to take away Rogo's body, but a group of supporters refused and took it away to be buried in the Muslim public cemetery.

The shooting sparked immediate protests by Mombasa's Muslim community. Anti-riot police responded with tear gas, and a government vehicle was burned near a mosque where Rogo once preached.

After violence broke out Monday, Prime Minister Raila Odinga called for restraint by residents of Mombasa, and asked that the government be allowed to get to the bottom of the matter.

"I appeal to our people not to use this sad act to inflict more pain and suffering on our country," said a statement on the prime minister's website. "Let us come together in calm instead and join hands in order to get to the bottom of the murder."

Aside from its sandy white beaches that draw big tourism dollars for the Kenyan economy, Mombasa features a large port that is used for transportation by neighboring landlocked countries. Any prolonged unrest could affect regional trade.

The violence could also derail efforts to rebuild the region's international reputation, after the coastal area outside the city saw a string of kidnappings of western foreigners last year.

A U.N. report in July said that Rogo "threatened the peace, security, or stability of Somalia, by providing financial, material, logistical or technical support to Al-Shabaab."

It also claimed that he was a key recruiter of Kenyan Muslims to fight with Al-Shabaab, the al Qaeda-linked militant group that is trying to overthrow the Somali government.

Journalist Bihoff Mukoto contributed to this report.

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