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Citizen Weekly

Thursday, 20 November 2014

MOMBASA MOSQUES CLOSED AS POLICE SHOOTS TWO



Authorities have shut down two more mosques in Mombasa in a widening crackdown on institutions suspected to be breeding grounds for terrorists. The crackdown, which began on Monday morning, continued yesterday with police storming Swafaa Mosque in Kisauni at about 3am. Police said a machete-wielding man was arrested in the mosque, while others who were with him fled through a back door. Another mosques, also in Kisauni, was also shut down yesterday. The indefinite closures of places of worship came only a day after the Government announced the closure of Musa and Sakina mosques in Majengo. Weekly Citizen has learnt the mosques will be closed indefinitely. A senior police officer said the mosques were now crime scenes and would only be reopened once "responsible" committees are put in place to manage them. Swafaa's link with extremists was exposed on October 24 this year when radical islamist youths seized it and forced out moderate imam Sheikh Hassan Juma Rashid who later resigned. The closure of Mina and Swafaa mosques was announced by Kisauni OCPD Richard Ngatia. According to the police, the raid on Swafaa in the heavily populated Kisauni yielded a hand grenade, machete and a file (for sharpening), seven petrol bombs, "booster for accelerating explosions", pellets, bomb detonator and two rounds of 9mm bullets. Other items recovered include literature expressing hatred for media and terrorist training material. Ngatia said a man with a knife and a machete was seized in the Swafaa raid where no one was hurt. He further said another 109 people who were arrested in a subsequent swoop yesterday will be vetted and those found innocent released. See Also: Police raid Swafaa Mosque, recover assorted weapons Responsible persons ''The mosques remain scenes of crime. Nobody should interfere with them for now,'' said Ngatia, adding that the Government wants mosques to set up committees of elders and responsible persons who police liaise with. ''We do not want to deal with youths who we believe are not accountable,'' he stated. During the operation, a section of the Old Malindi Road was cleared of traffic and motorists had to use other routes to reach their destinations