(Corrects headline tag)
* Police to charge 129 as members of a 'terrorist group'
* Clashes started after police raid on a Mombasa mosque
* Police: Somali militants use mosque to radicalise youths
By Joseph Akwiri
MOMBASA, Kenya, Feb 3 Kenyan police fired tear
gas and rubber bullets to disperse Muslim youths rioting for a
second day on Monday in protest against a raid on a mosque used
by firebrand preachers in the port city of Mombasa, a Reuters
The youths hurled rocks at the police and shouted "release
our brothers," referring to more than 100 people arrested in the
same run-down area of Majengo on Sunday. Riot police patrolled
the deserted streets after the unrest subsided.
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 official Simon Simiyu told a Mombasa court on Monday
the authorities plan to charge the 129 men with "being members
of a terrorist group, namely al Shabaab".
It granted his request to keep them in detention for five
days more for authorities to finish their investigations.
Police stormed the Mussa mosque in Majengo on Sunday after a
tip that Muslim youths were being radicalised there by Islamists
supporting al Shabaab, Somali militants allied with al Qaeda.
Security sources say the mosque has been at the heart of al
Shabaab's attempts to radicalise disillusioned young Kenyan
Muslims in recent years. Officers came under fire as they burst
into the mosque, said police who seized laptops, DVDs and black
banners emblazoned with jihadi slogans there.
Kenya's coastal region is heavily dependent on tourism and
occasional grenade attacks by al Shabaab and rioting by angry
youths are putting off foreign visitors.
Kenyan police said two protesters were killed on Sunday but
local human rights activists said five died in the clashes. A
policeman was also critically wounded, a police source said.
"WAR AGAINST MUSLIMS"
Tensions on Kenya's mainly Muslim coast have been running
high in recent months following the assassinations of several
Muslim clerics and Christian preachers.
In October, Muslim youths set fire to a Mombasa church after
Islamist cleric Sheikh Ibrahim Omar died in a drive-by shooting
some Muslims blamed on police. His mentor, Sheikh Aboud Rogo,
was shot dead in 2012 in similar circumstances.
Both men used to preach at Mussa mosque.
Prior to his death, Rogo 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.
One local lawmaker said the heavy-handed tactics by the
police would only lead to more anger, rebellion and violence.
"Radicalism cannot be eradicated by bullets and fire arms,"
Abdul Swamad Sharrif Nassir, a parliamentarian from Mombasa,
told journalists. "The perception they are constantly sending is
that this is a war against Muslims and not terrorists."
Kenyan police, however, deny brutality and say they are
tackling a major threat to national security.
In Nairobi, four Somali men were charged on Monday with
possessing explosives and attempting to commit a terrorist act
at the city's main international airport, where a blast rocked a
small coffee shop but caused no injuries.
Kenyan police believe the four men are part of a "vast
terrorist network" in the country and plan to execute to attack
government buildings and foreign establishments, an
anti-terrorism police inspector said in court papers seen by
(Additional reporting by Humphrey Malalo in Nairobi; Writing by
Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Tom Heneghan)