* Passerby stabbed to death by youths in Mombasa -witness
* Kenya cracking down on recruitment of Islamist militants
* Hit by attacks over pursuit of Somali al Shabaab rebels
By Joseph Akwiri
MOMBASA, Kenya, Feb 5 Muslim youths fought
police in the Kenyan port of Mombasa and one person was killed
on Wednesday, witnesses said, in a third day of violence over
the killing of a man in a police raid on a mosque used by
Kenya is trying to break up militant recruitment networks
among its Muslim community in efforts to end attacks by Somali
Islamist militants and their sympathisers bent on punishing it
for sending troops to Somalia to fight al Shabaab rebels.
The east African country, which has the region's largest
economy, is still reeling from an al Shabaab attack on a luxury
shopping mall in Nairobi in September which at least 67 people
On Wednesday evening, youths pelted vehicles with rocks and
torched motorcycles in a third day of disturbances since the
Sunday raid on the mosque, creating a major traffic snarl up on
the busy highway that leads into Mombasa from the hinterland.
Witnesses said police fired teargas and bullets over the
heads of crowds to scatter them, with youths shouting "killers"
at the officers. A witness said one of his colleagues, an
artisan, was killed by rioters on his way home from work.
"This is my colleague. I work with him at a workshop in
Majengo. He was attacked, stabbed and killed two hours ago by
those rioters," Tom Mutua told Reuters at the hospital in
Mombasa where the body had been taken from the scene, referring
to a run-down neighbourhood in the Indian Ocean port city.
A Reuters witness said some youths had stoned bystanders and
that around 10 people had been stabbed.
"These were rowdy youth who attacked anyone at random for no
reason. I am sure even some Muslims were injured. This is a
problem for everybody, not just one religion," said Robert
Kitur, the Mombasa county police chief.
"They can say anything they want and accuse police of
anything but from our end, we are only aware of three deaths,
that of two youths and a police officer whom they killed on
A Reuters witness who visited the Masjid Mussa mosque
stormed on Sunday saw dry blood stains on the carpet, walls and
curtains, bullet holes in the walls and spent cartridges and
broken glass littering the floor.
Kenyan security officials say the Masjid Mussa mosque is a
hotbed of militant activity, in particular recruitment of
disgruntled young Kenyan Muslims into local Islamist networks
and al Shabaab in Somalia.
Worshippers at the mosque accuse the security services of
operating a death squad, a charge the police deny.
Kenya's coastal region is heavily dependent on tourism and
occasional grenade attacks by al Shabaab and rioting by
disaffected youths are putting off foreign visitors.
Tensions on Kenya's mainly Muslim coast have increased in
recent months following the assassinations of several Muslim
clerics and Christian preachers.
(Editing by George Obulutsa and Mark Heinrich)