Fear grips villages as two are shot dead after prayers

Tension has gripped two villages in Ukunda, Msambweni sub-county, after two people were shot dead.

The killings have been blamed on law enforcers and Al Shabaab returnees.

Ali Kisuse, 45, was accosted by unknown gunmen inside Masjid Muslimani on Wednesday and shot five times. The attackers escaped.

Mr Kisuse was from Kibundani village and had just attended evening prayers. 

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“Kisuse is always the last one to leave the mosque because he is the caretaker. The assailants entered the mosque and shot him dead,” said his older brother Mustafa Mohamed.

Villagers yesterday said they heard five gunshots at about 8pm. They later went into the mosque and found Kisuse’s body lying in a pool of blood.

The villagers said after killing Kisuse, the shooters moved to neighbouring Shamu village and killed another elderly man.

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Mwinyi Pataka from Shamu was waylaid as he also left a mosque and shot in the head. He died on the spot.

“We could not come out of the house because it was night time and the gunshots scared us. We did not see the attackers,” said Kombo Hassan.

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Fear has gripped the villages as community leaders and sheikhs claim similar killings were witnessed in the area in July and August.

In April, two people, including a politician, were shot dead by unknown assailants in Kilolapwa village in Ukunda town.

Kombo Gude, 55, and his 60-year-old friend Nasib Diti were shot in the head around 8pm and died on the spot.

Like the Wednesday killings, police are yet to determine the motive. Intelligence sources however link the shootings to members of Al-Shabaab who have returned to the county.

Other reports indicate that the killings are motivated by land disputes.

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“The question many are asking is who is next? These kinds of killings have been too common here and we don’t think they are robberies because the killers don’t steal anything from their victims,” said Sheikh Mustafa Mohamed.

Msambweni Assistant County Commissioner Ronald Enyokasi said: “We are investigating all the theories around the killings. However, what I can tell you for sure is that police officers are not responsible for the killings.”

Launched investigations

He said the police had launched investigations and promised to ensure that the killers were brought to book.

Coast-based right groups Muslim for Human Rights (Muhuri) and Haki Africa condemned the killings and urged the police to carry out independent investigations that will lead to the arrest of the culprits.

“So far, 70 people have been killed in Coast region since January by unknown assailants,” said Francis Auma of Muhuri.

Haki Africa Executive Director Hussein Khalid said residents of Kwale and Mombasa counties were living in fear due to increased attacks.

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TensionUkundaMsambweni sub-countyAl Shabaab returneesMasjid MuslimaniKibundani villageounty CommissionerMuslim for Human RightsHaki Africa