NAIROBI, Kenya — Gunmen in Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa shot and killed a Muslim cleric accused by Washington and the United Nations of supporting al-Qaida-linked militants in Somalia, sparking rioting by youths in which one person died and at least one police car was burned.
The killing on Monday of Aboud Rogo fits into a pattern of extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances of suspected terrorists that is allegedly being orchestrated by Kenyan police, say Kenyan human rights groups.
Rogo was shot as he drove with his family in Mombasa, Rogo's lawyer, Mbugua Mureithi, told the Associated Press. Rogo's wife was wounded in the leg, said Rogo's father, who was also in the car along with Rogo's 5-year-old daughter. The father said he and the girl weren't injured.
At the scene of the killing, Rogo's wife angrily accused police of the murder.
"It is you policemen who have killed him, we don't want a post-mortem or any help from you," said Khaniya Said Sagar to police who came to assist her.
Rogo's killing quickly sparked protests by hundreds of Muslim youths who went on the rampage on the streets of Mombasa, as his body was being taken for burial, in line with Muslim customs of burying the dead on the same day they died.
The Muslim Human Rights Forum condemned Rogo's murder, calling it an "extrajudicial killing" and calling for an "an end to targeted killings and enforced disappearances of terrorism suspects."
Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe and his deputy Charles Owino did not respond to calls and messages seeking comment.
Rogo is the fifth alleged Muslim extremist who has been killed or who has disappeared in the last four months, according to human rights campaigners. One corpse was found mutilated; the other four men vanished.
Earlier this year, Rogo was charged with possession of a cache of guns, ammunition and detonators. Rogo also faced charges of membership in al-Shabab, the Somali rebel group that is linked to al-Qaida and which has been outlawed in Kenya.
Al-Shabab has vowed to carry out a large-scale attack in Nairobi in retaliation for Kenya sending troops into Somalia to fight the Islamist insurgents. The Kenyan government blames al-Shabab for several kidnappings on Kenyan soil, including those of four Europeans. The kidnappings greatly harmed Kenya's coastal tourism industry.