A boy, who was with fellow Muslims detained by police from a raid at the Musa mosque, climb in a cell as the men wait to be arraigned at a court in Shanzu, a coastal town of Mombasa February 3, 2014. Joseph Okanga/Reuter
Early this month more than 100 young Muslims in this port city gathered at the Musa Mosque for what was billed as a regional Islamic conference. The meeting had been banned by police, who say the mosque has ties to the Somali militant group Al Shabab. But the organizers went ahead anyway.
By early afternoon on Feb. 2, Musa was full of people, including dozens of neighborhood children drawn by a free lunch.
What followed next is unclear: Police say they tried to arrest mosque leaders and came under gunfire. Muslim activists say the police stormed the mosque unprovoked.
However it started, police stormed the religious structure with boots on and began firing tear gas and live bullets at youth, some of whom fought back with knives. After a melee that captured national attention, police arrested 129 people, including 21 minors, some only 12 years old. Dozens were injured, and rioting continued for days as wounded succumbed to injuries. By Feb. 6, seven Muslims and one police officer lay dead. Read more…