By NVONews.Com Correspondent,
Mombasa: Ahead of next year’s presidential election Kenya’s coast is once again burning. The riots have already taken many lives.
It was sparked off by the killing of a Muslim cleric Aboud Rogo, by an unidentified person, who sprayed bullet into his car in the Indian Ocean port city of Mombasa last Monday (August 27). The bloody unrest that followed have once again exposed deep social, political and economic divides in the country.
Kenya has been in the news ever since the bombing of the US embassies in capital Nairobi and Dar-es-Salam in neighbouring Tanzania on August 7, 1998 killing 224 people, including a dozen Americans, and injuring about 5,000. Al-Qaeda was blamed for that attack. It was in retaliation that a few days later the US air force rained missiles on Khost in Afghanistan and targeted a pharmaceutical firm in Sudan. The Americans claimed that the Khost was the stronghold of Al-Qaeda and that the Sudanese firm was acutally a chemical weapon plant. However, the charges could not be confirmed.
In that way August 7 is considered as a precursor to the 9/11, and that is why Kenya is so crucial in the US scheme of things. More significantly, Kenya is the country of President Barack Husain Obama’s father.
Muslims of the country hold the Kenyan government as well as the United States responsible for the killing of Rogo, who they say, has nothing to do with Al-Qaeda. However, both Kenya and USA had in the past accused him of having link with al-Shabaab, the outfit active in neighbouring Somalia, and considered to be close to Al-Qaeda.
Mombasa, the second largest city, have also witnessed an attack on Israeli plane and several foreign tourists in the last few years.
After last Monday’s elimination of Rogo local Muslims fought with security forces and reportedly targeted Churches too. Though only 11 per cent of Kenyans are Muslims what is important is that their population is concentrated on the coast, which have its own strategic and business importance.
However, it is other thing that over the decades settlers from the Christian dominated inland have come over there and deprived the Muslims of their land and other economic activities. This has also contributed to their sense of alienation, which nourishes extremism.
Though Kenyan government blamed the enemies of the country for the rioting the Muslims squarely put the blame on the government for the killing of cleric.
Kenya, like Sudan, Nigeria and a couple of other western African countries, is engulfed in a typical Christian-Muslim conflict.
With troubled Yemen, the home country of Osama Bin Laden, not far away and the local Muslim population having cultural affinity with Arabs it is not too difficult for the government or the US to establish any foreign link in any activity in this part of Kenya. But the Muslims strongly deny any such charge.
They say Rogo was simply a staunch Muslim and had firm and bold stands on matters of Islam. He had built up a loyal base of supporters in parts of Mombasa, with many of his sermons posted online and on social media.
It needs to be recalled that an outlawed coastal group, the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC), wants to secede from Kenya. It has threatened to stage unrest if its demands for independence are not met by next year’s presidential election.
However, MRC’s Secretary-General Randu Nzai said that his outfit had nothing to do with the violence that followed the gunning down of Rogo and also denied the government accusation that it is linked to al-Shabaab.