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.
TEXT SIZE - +
— 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

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest 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.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid