Seven killed in Kenyan protest for radical Islamic cleric

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

CIA Factbook

At least seven people were killed and more than ten injured in Nairobi, Kenya on Friday when a deadly confrontation ensued between police, demonstrators, and the general public at a protest to petition the arrest of Jamaican-born radical Muslim cleric Abdullah el-Faisal. El-Faisal was recently released from a British prison where he spent the last four years of his life for his role in various terrorist plots, including the July 2005 London Bombings.

After being refused entry to his native Jamaica in addition to several East African nations, el-Faisal entered Kenya on December 24, 2009 after having gone via Nigeria, Angola, Mozambique, Swaziland, Malawi, and Tanzania. Kenyan authorities arrested him after he was red-flagged in an immigration database.

What was at first a peaceful protest by youth members of a local group known as the Muslim Human Rights Forum soon turned violent as the demonstrators started to pelt riot police with stones and other objects. In turn, officers retaliated at first with tear gas and water cannons, but as matters further deteriorated and some protesters attempted to stab them, the officers began to employ live ammunition, firing it into the crowd.

Later in the day as the situation continued to deteriorate, scores of uninvolved civilians—for reasons still unknown by the media—got into the scuffle on the side of the police.

Furthermore, shops adjacent to where the protest was taking place were looted and vehicles that were parked on the streets were totalled in the midst of all that was transpiring.

At a news conference blocks away, government spokesperson Alfred Mutua declined to comment both on the details and the police department's handling of the demonstration. However he did say that "[t]he government of Kenya is aware Mr. Abdullah el-Faisal has been deported from several countries for alleged recruitment, inspiration and advocating of suicide bombers. Mr. el-Faisal is a threat to this country, because of his alleged tendencies to recruit suicide bombers."

More than 300 miles away in Mombasa, Muslims held a similar demonstration on el-Faisal's behalf that ended peacefully.

Mutua reiterated the Immigration Ministry's prior statement that el-Faisal will remain imprisoned in Kenya until they are able to send him back to Jamaica, whose government already made clear that they would not receive him.

"This man is so dangerous," said Mutua. "No country wants to touch him."