Radical cleric Sheikh Abubakar Shariff alias Makaburi shot dead

Radical Muslim cleric Sheikh Abubakar Shariff, alias Makaburi. (Photo:File:Standard)

By Benard Sanga and Stanley Mwahanga

Mombasa, Kenya: Riots broke out in several parts of Mombasa following the killing of radical islamist and terror suspect Sheikh Abubakar Shariff alias Makaburi outside the Shanzu Law Courts.

Eyewitnesses told The Standard that at approximately 6.30pm last evening, some men wearing white flowing robes in a white car opened fire on Makaburi and five other unidentified men as the group waited for a bus after appearing in the court. The gunmen sped towards Mombasa, according to eyewitness accounts.

Makaburi was killed two days after intelligence officials linked him to the March 23 killing of worshippers in a Mombasa church.

The officials indicated last weekend that the Anti-Terror Police Unit had concluded allegedly, after telephone intercepts that Makaburi aided militants allied to Al Hijra, an affiliate of Al-Shabaab in Mombasa, to procure guns and commit the March 23 church massacre allegedly on the orders of a Kenyan Yemeni based Al-Qaida fugitive Ahmed Iman Ali.

And Makaburi, who openly praised violence, Al-Shabaab and rationalized the September 22, 2013 Westgate terror attack was killed less than a week after he won Sh670,000 in damages from the State for illegal search of his home two years ago.

Makaburi and Iman were also linked to the booby-trapped car found at the Mombasa police headquarters on March 17.

In July last year the UN Monitoring Group linked Makaburi to Al Hijra activities in Mombasa, Nairobi, Tanzania and Burundi. The report that Makaburi and British terror suspect Jermaine Grant who is facing terrorism charges had assumed the leadership of Al-Qaida and its affiliates in Kenya and East Africa following the August 27, 2012 killing of his former comrade Sheikh Aboud Rogo.

A man who identified himself as Steve told The Standard that Makaburi and his group were coming from the court and were waiting for a matatu to go to town when two men dressed in kanzus inside a car shot them.

The Standard at the scene described Makaburi’s body as bloodied and spread-eagled by the road side with his head hanging in a ditch.

His chest had what appeared like bullet marks.  A second person who was in the company of Makaburi known only as Bahero was killed on the spot. Three other men who were  injured were still at the scene by the time of going to press.

The dead and injured were later  taken away by police to Bamburi Police Station.

Makaburi’s militant supporters poured out of Masjid Shuhadaa in Majengo, Mombasa to block roads and protest his killing. Until last month Masjid Shuhadaa was called Masjid Musa and is a known base for radical islamists in the mould of  Makaburi and his slain radical and comrade Sheikh Aboud Rogo.

 By the time of going to press dozens of Makaburi’s supporters blocked sections of the Malindi to Mombasa road. Police fired warning shots in a bid to disperse them.

The youth, who were demanding the bodies for burial, shouted: “Allahu Akbar we want our martyr we want to bury him according to Muslim tradition.”