News / Africa

Secessionist Leader Arrest Raises Tensions in Kenya

Omar Mwamnuadzi (C), leader of the separatist Mombasa Republican Council shown at a Kenyan prison with members of the group, October 15, 2012.
Omar Mwamnuadzi (C), leader of the separatist Mombasa Republican Council shown at a Kenyan prison with members of the group, October 15, 2012.
Tension is high in Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa, after police arrested the leader of a secessionist group - the Mombasa Republic Council.  Local rights groups say the government's action could backfire because the secessionists are winning increasing support from people in the region. 

In a dawn raid, Kenyan police arrested Omar Mwamnuadzi, the leader of the Mombasa Republic Council. Two of his bodyguards were shot dead, and police arrested 38 of his followers who were stationed around his home.

According to a regional police officer, Aggrey Adoli, the arrest of Mwamnuadzi sparked tension in the city, leading to the death of a local chief.

“The situation on the ground is that these people are real militias, because you realize that after we had arrested the chairman and the other people, some of the remnants of the MRC went for the life of a chief," said Adoli. "They went and hacked their assistant chief to death and right now we are also investigating that murder so that we can be able to arrest the culprits.”

The Mombasa Republic Council has been advocating for the secession of coastal region, an area well known for its safaris and tropical beaches.

The group bases its position on what it terms historical injustices that revolve around land and unfair distribution of national resources.    

Decades of corruption in Kenya have kept the ruling elite enormously wealthy and majority appallingly poor.  The country’s political volatility, highlighted by the post-election violence of 2008, gives more fuel to groups like the Mombasa Republic Council.

But the group has been associated with violence, most recently the attack on a government minister in which four people were killed, including minister’s bodyguard.  

Francis Auma of Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI) said in an interview with VOA that the government is blaming the group for all bad activities in the region.

“We [MUHURI] are not for violence. Us, we are for the legal way," Auma insisted.  "If there is problem let these people be arrested and taken to court but this not MRC.  Anything that happens here just normal thuggery.  They say it is MRC.  They are just branding."

The government has banned the Mombasa Republic Council, but in late July, three High Court judges ruled that outlawing the group was unconstitutional and said the state had failed to prove the ban was justifiable and proportionate.

The court recommended the group to register as political party since their grievances are political.  But the group has refused to follow that direction.

Auma said the government wants to create fear and tension so people will be afraid of the group.

Last week, seven MRC leaders including spokesman Mohamed Mraja were arrested and charged with incitement to violence.

According to Auma, police are arresting youths and planting pamphlets, which have MRC slogans, and later charging them with incitement.

You May Like

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Salim from: Nairobi
October 16, 2012 7:17 AM
There is no tension as you put it, the guy got what he deserves, i congratulate the police for a "job well done", this is a free country we shall not entertain intolerance

by: Paul Gesimba from: Nairobi
October 16, 2012 3:27 AM
The MRC is behaving like an outlawed sect or militia group like the IRA or the Spanish separatists while the whole World is moving towards becoming a global village .If they have any genuine grievances they should forward them using the normal laid down channels or form a political party to agitate for their rights .Otherwise acts of violence will only hurt their cause

by: musawi melake
October 15, 2012 6:06 PM
If the Scots can have an opportunity, or rather exercise their right to self determination, then why can't the others have the same, or are they inferior just because they don't live in Europe or North America? If it's the people that are sovereign, they under the same principle the people should be allowed to voice their view. Some countries call themselves democracies, such as India, but their constitution forbids even speaking about secession!

by: ahmed hassan from: mombasa
October 15, 2012 1:58 PM
Your article is very biased because as person in Mombasa no tension after the arrest of the self declared president of MRC as there is alot of support from peace loving kenyans as witnessed on twitter and online websites.MRC is predominantly of muslims of Digo Community and has Al shabab simpathisers.Your reporter failed to state that an Assistant chief was murdered in revenge attack an act wich border terrorism .The poverty in coast is caused by rejection of christian model of education and preference of islamic education which the communities embraced before independence and taking of land by rich Arabs. Kindly correct the facts

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs