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Clashes in Kenya port for second day over mosque raid: witness

A police officer holds a flag hanged by Muslim youths at Masjid Mussa Mosque in the coastal town of Mombasa February 2, 2014. REUTERS/Joseph Okanga

MOMBASA: Muslim youths angry about a police raid on a mosque used by firebrand preachers in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa clashed with police for a second day on Monday, a Reuters witness said.

Smashing Islamist recruitment networks among its Muslim minority has become a priority for Kenya, a country still reeling from a September raid by Somali militants on a luxury shopping mall in Nairobi. At least 67 people were killed.

Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the protesters who were hurling rocks and shouting "release our brothers" in reference to more than 100 people the police arrested after violent clashes in the same area on Sunday.

Kenyan police stormed the Masjid Mussa mosque in the city's run-down Majengo neighbourhood on Sunday after a tip that Muslim youths were being radicalised by Islamists who support al Shabaab, a Somalia militant group allied with al Qaeda.

The mosque has been at the heart of al Shabaab's attempts to radicalise disillusioned young Kenyan Muslims over the past couple of years, security sources say.

Two protesters were killed during the clashes on Sunday, two medical sources at a local hospital told Reuters. A policeman was also critically wounded, a police source said.

Aboud Rogo, one of the mosque's most well-known preachers who was killed in 2012, had been accused by United Nations investigators of sourcing funds and recruits for al Shabaab while Kenyan authorities charged him with terrorism-related offences. The United States had also frozen Rogo's assets.

 

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