7 Killed In Kenyan Pro-Radical Cleric Protest

At least seven people were killed when police fired on about 100 Muslim youth in the Kenyan capital who on Friday protested the arrest of a radical Jamaican-born Muslim cleric whose teachings influenced one of the 2005 London transport system bombers.

NAIROBI, Kenya -- At least seven people were killed when police fired on about 100 Muslim youth in the Kenyan capital who on Friday protested the arrest of a radical Jamaican-born Muslim cleric whose teachings influenced one of the 2005 London transport system bombers.

Farouk Machanje of the Muslim Human Rights Forum, which organized the protest in Nairobi, said five people have been killed.

An official with an ambulance service said a young man, who had been shot in the head, died as they took him to the main government hospital. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. He said they took 10 other people with bullet wounds to the hospital.

An Associated Press reporter saw the body of another young man who relatives said was 25 years old. The reporter also saw three other young men wounded in the protest being treated at a clinic near the downtown Nairobi mosque where it began after Friday prayers.

Police restricted the protesters' movements by standing at roads leading away from the mosque. Soon after the protesters emerged from the mosque, police fired tear gas and used water cannons to disperse them. The demonstrators then threw stones. They had planned to march to the Immigration Ministry to protest Kenya detaining Sheik Abdullah el-Faisal.



In an unusual twist, later in the day, scores of ordinary Kenyans who were not involved in the demonstration threw stones at the protesters. It was not clear why they did so.

At a news conference held a few blocks away from the violence, government spokesman Alfred Mutua declined to answer questions about the demonstration but read a statement explaining the government's action against el-Faisal.


"The government of Kenya is aware Mr. Abdullah el-Faisal has been deported from several countries for alleged recruitment, inspiration and advocating of suicide bombers," Mutua said. "Mr. el-Faisal is a threat to this country, because of his alleged tendencies to recruit suicide bombers."

More than 300 miles away, Muslims in the coastal town of Mombasa held a similar demonstration Friday, which ended peacefully.

Earlier this week Immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang said el-Faisal will remain in prison until Kenya is able to send him to Jamaica.

El-Faisal's native country has said it will receive him, but no country is willing to issue him a transit visa that would allow him to make a connecting flight to Jamaica.

"This man is so dangerous no country wants to touch him," said Mutua during a briefing on Thursday.

Britain has said that el-Faisal's teachings heavily influenced one of the men who carried out the London bombings that killed 52 people. The cleric served four years in a British jail for inciting murder and stirring racial hatred by urging followers to kill Americans, Hindus and Jews. El-Faisal was released in 2007 and deported to Jamaica. He stayed there until early 2009 when he traveled to Africa, Jamaican officials have said.

El-Faisal arrived in Kenya on Dec. 24, but immigration officials at a border point did not know who he was because a database that has a watch list was shut down while new software was being installed. Kenyan authorities only realized he was in the country a week later.





http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/15/AR2010011500999.html