|Madrassa tutor beheaded as terror fears rise.|
By PAUL GITAU and BENARD SANGA
Malindi, Kenya: A Madrassa teacher has been killed in Malindi, raising new fears over the activities of a terror group in the region.
Faiz Mohamed Bwarusi, a native of Lamu, was buried on Monday night, hours after his freshly decapitated body was found on Ngomeni beach in Malindi following his alleged abduction on Sunday.
Faiz’s last name has also been spelt as Mwarusi and some official accounts suggest the corpse was found in the ocean.
Faiz’s death was announced as fresh fears hit the Christian community in the region following text messages circulated on Monday and Tuesday over alleged planned attacks on churches by radical youths, led by an Al-Shabaab leader said to have crossed into Kenya recently.
Magarini District Commissioner Richard Karani told The Standard Tuesday that the 30-year-old Islamic teacher who was married and a father of two was most likely murdered.
“A man called Faiz Mohamed Bwarusi has been found murdered and thrown in the ocean [with the] head missing at Ngomeni in Milimani village,” said the DC who indicated that the body was discovered on Monday.
An eyewitness at the burial ceremony held at night told The Standard that the deceased’s head was not recovered for burial and that Faiz was only identified from his clothing.
Immediate suspicion has fallen on Al-Shabaab militants in Malindi where radical Islamism has been on the rise, including the desecration of Sufi graves in the town in October.
Al-Qaeda has had cells in Malindi for decades, according to intelligence sources which allege Faiz is a former militant himself who trained in Somalia for years, returning to Kenya in 2008 and was also a close ally of slain radical Islamist Sheikh Aboud Rogo.
Rogo was killed in Mombasa on August 27 last year by unknown people and a government inquest into the matter was inconclusive. But there has been suspicion that he was betrayed by double agents close to him.
Yesterday, Karani claimed that the government was treating the incident as ‘a normal crime’ and had opened an investigation without providing details.
But independent accounts in Malindi quoting intelligence and anti-terrorism agents indicated that Faiz was killed as a reprisal resulting from either infighting within militant circles or on suspicion that he had become a double agent.
According a friend in Nairobi who asked not to be named, Faiz had recently been trailed and threatened by several men in Malindi.
He allegedly reported the incidents to police seeking protection four weeks ago after he was briefly accosted by five men in Malindi who had photographs of Faiz and four other men described as Al-Shabaab turncoats.
Police sources indicate Faiz was arrested several times over links with Sheikh Rogo, Al-Shabaab and terrorism but had grown close to the Kenyan security in recent years.
Yesterday, Supreme Council of Muslims of Kenya Coast branch Chairman Muhdhar Khitamy said he had received the news of Faiz’s death but had no details.
Separately, mainstream Muslim leaders continued talks on radicalisation at a secret location to contain the take-over of mosques by indoctrinated youth as a Catholic priest reported new threats on churches.
The vicar in charge of the Mombasa Catholic Diocese Wilybard Lagho said he had received a text message disclosing the alleged threat to churches in Diani, South Coast, and Kisauni and Changamwe.