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
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 attack 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.
Officers were on their way to help beef up security because of the ongoing riots, said police chief Aggrey Adoli.
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.
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 supporting Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia and was blacklisted by the United States and U.N. Security Council. He also faced charges before a Kenyan court for planning terror attacks in Mombasa
“We have received reports that Aboud Rogo Mohammed has died,” said Eric Kiraithe, the Kenya Police spokesman. “We are taking this matter very seriously. It is disappointing to us, because we had a case in court and we had evidence to go to its logical conclusion.”
“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 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 protests by Mombasa’s Muslim community. Anti-riot police responded with tear gas. 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 went on to claim 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.