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Kenyan radical preacher freed on bail

17 September 2012, 15:09

Mombasa - A Kenyan court released on bail on Monday a radical Kenyan preacher charged with inciting deadly riots, and accused by the US of supporting Somalia's al-Qaeda linked militants.

Abubaker Shariff Ahmed, also known as Makaburi, is charged with three counts of inciting violent protests in Kenya's main port city of Mombasa, after the assassination there last month of fellow Islamist cleric Aboud Rogo Mohammed.

Ahmed has denied encouraging that violence, which saw two days of running battles, with grenades hurled at two police trucks, killing three officers and wounding over a dozen others.

"I have not seen any compelling reasons to deny the accused his constitutional rights of being out on bond," judge Elvis Micheka told the court Monday.

Ahmed was ordered to pay a million shilling (12,000 dollars, 9,000 euro) cash bail, as well as other sureties.

Trial was set for 29 October.

Ahmed - like the murdered cleric, popularly known as Rogo - was also on United States sanctions list for allegedly supporting neighbouring Somalia's extremist Shabaab, including by recruiting and fundraising for the group.

Following Rogo's murder by unknown gunmen, Ahmed is alleged to have called out to supporters to target security officers and to torch churches in Mombasa.

Rogo's supporters accused the security forces of murdering him, calling his death an "extra-judicial killing". The police reject the claim and have appealed for help in hunting down those responsible.

Ahmed had handed himself over to the court in early September, telling local media he feared for his life.

Both Ahmed and Rogo had fiercely opposed Kenya's invasion of southern Somalia last year to attack Shabaab bases.

The US Treasury alleges that Ahmed is a "leading facilitator and recruiter of young Kenyan Muslims for 'action' in Somalia".

 

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