By David Ochami and Patrick Beja
Fresh riots have broken in various parts of Mombasa after an overnight stand off between police and militant supporters of radical priest Sheikh Aboud Rogo.
Traders in Mombasa are counting their losses following chaos following the murder of Islamic preacher on Monday.
Angry youths have set up on government installations calling for holy war and declaring that Sheikh Rogo was a martyr killed in jihad but also vowing to avenge the killing.
“These boys have began again but we will not allow this disorder to go on. We shall act within the law to restore stability and peace” Coast PPO Aggrey Adoli told The Standard Digital this morning (Tuesday) denied reports that Sheikh Rogo’s wife Haniya Said Sagaar who was shot in the legs had died at a private hospital in the coastal city.
“There is no truth in those reports. It is all rumours,” said Adoli referring to the death reports.
Meanwhile rock throwing rioters have injured an a police officer who is undergoing surgery at the Pandya Memorial Hospital.
Reports show the officer was hit from behind and injured in the pelvis on Monday night.
Police fired warning bullets and lobbed teargas into the crowds of Sheikh Rogo’s angry supporters and threw cordons around churches and government installations that have been the target of rioting mobs.
Angry youths set up barricades and lit fires along the roads in Majengo slums, according to the PPO, one police officer sustained critical injuries.
Officers battled with youths in Kibokoni and Bondeni areas of Mombasa where the late Rogo enjoyed fanatical support.
There were skirmishes in Makupa, Saba Saba where youths barricaded streets and slowed traffic shouting religious slogans.
The town streets cleared as tension spread in Mombasa with the arrival of hundreds of General Service Unit officers from Kisauni, Mackinnon and other parts of Mombasa County called in to reinforce exhausted police who had battled rioters with little supplies the whole of Monday day and night.
On Monday night the militants attacked Equity Bank and tried to loot and retreated into Mombasa’s Old Town after lighting fires on Digo Road and areas around Bondeni.
Adoli denied any police role in the killing and accused mourners who snatched Rogo’s corpse from police of frustrating police investigation.
According to the PPO there is too much eagerness to blame police over the killing without evidence.
“When the shooting took place nobody called the police to enable them chase the attackers,” he said and disclosed that the car with the killer assailants sped towards Mombasa town after the murder.
Police officers complained that they are unable to stem the rioting because of vague orders.
Meanwhile, Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) said businesses had been paralysed in the town since Monday and appealed to leaders to intervene and restore calm.
The traders claimed the Government was acting slowly as insecurity affected economic activities in the city.
KNCCI Mombasa branch chairman Mr James Mureu said traders have shut down business following tension and looting.
Addressing a press conference yesterday, Mureu said the town’s economy was anchored on tourism and that persistent chaos could negatively affect the industry for a long time.
He said traders in the tourism business were worried about possible travel advisories from various international source markets following negative publicity that followed the murder of the preacher.
“We have shut businesses because of the chaos and looting. We are appealing to the President and Prime Minister to intervene,” Mureu said.
Mureu also appealed to religious and political leaders to intervene and restore calm in the town.
He was flanked by KNCCI directors Mr Abdulsamad Ali, Mr Mohamedraza Rashid, Mr Narottam Khatan and Ms Hazel Koitaba.
“Religious and political leaders should step in and calm the situation,” Mureu said.