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Muslim cleric on United States enemies list shot dead in car

(GIN) – Riots erupted in Kenya’s touristic port city of Mombasa over the contract-style killing of a popular Muslim cleric who had many followers among the youth.

Aboud Rogo Mohammed was murdered Aug. 27 by suspects traveling in a car that had been trailing his. The gunmen’s car suddenly sped up and shots were fired at the driver’s side of the imam’s vehicle. Rogo Mohammed died instantly while his wife, father-in-law and 8-year-old daughter suffered minor wounds.

Rogo Mohammad had been placed on a U.S. and U.N. sanctions list for “engaging in acts that directly or indirectly threaten the peace, security or stability of Somalia,” specifically for recruiting and fundraising for the al-Shabab, a Somali Islamist group fighting the U.S.-backed government in Mogadishu, Somalia since 2010.

Last year, in a major policy shift, Kenya sent troops into Somali territory in pursuit of al-Shabab. The controversial move created new security problems for the Kenyan nation. It was the first incursion into another country since Kenyan independence in 1963.

After Rogo’s burial, angry mobs threw stones at police, broke store windows, forcing tourist hotels to close and safaris to be canceled. Police responded with tear gas, said Ben Lawrence of Human Rights Watch. The violence could worsen if it taps into long-standing local grievances over land ownership and unemployment, as well as calls by the Mombasa Republican Council for the coastal strip to secede.

Meanwhile, Abdi Yusuf, a senior Somali military commander, said on Sunday that fighter jets struck two al-Shabab bases in southern Somalia, but could not confirm if the aircraft belonged to Kenya.

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