Tag Archives: Mombasa

In Kenya, islanders on heritage site count cost of $25 billion mega-project

Lamu Island on Kenya’s northeast coast was established some 700 years ago as part of a thriving Indian Ocean trade network that eventually stretched to Oman, India, Portugal, and China.

The mixing of those cultures produced the Swahili people and language, as well as an Islamic renaissance of architecture, poetry, and cuisine.

Lamu is regarded as the best preserved Swahili settlement in existence. The history, the remote white beaches, the carved wooden doorways, and the winding alleys, all make it a top Kenya tourist destination.

But change is coming – more drastic than any in Lamu’s history – that could irreversibly transform this ancient place. Read more…

Photo: Ben Curtis/AP

Worst since Westgate: New Al Shabab attack stirs Kenyan security doubts

A man observes the remains of destroyed vehicles and buildings in the town of Mpeketoni, about 60 miles from the Somali border on the coast of Kenya Monday. AP

Gunmen belonging to the Somali extremist group Al Shabab killed at least 48 people in a seven-hour rampage through a Kenyan coastal town late Sunday night, leaving many Kenyans wondering whether their government is capable of protecting them from terrorists.  Read more…

In Mombasa, Africa’s first ‘alternative currency’ helps Kenyans fight poverty

 

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A Bangla-Pesa note held up during a meeting in Kawangware slum Mombasa, where residents hope to create their own currency. Photo by Jason Patinkin

Mombasa, Kenya – How can people in the world’s poorest slums increase their businesses – even when they don’t have enough money to buy food every day?

One solution found by residents in a slum on Kenya’s coast is simply to print their own money.

For a year now, more than 180 local businesses in what is called the “Bangladesh” slum near the coastal Kenyan city of Mombasa have used their own colorful currency alongside the Kenya shilling.

It is called “Bangla-Pesa.” It is slightly larger than a dollar, comes in 5s, 10s, and 20s, and is helping to stimulate trade in one of Kenya’s most neglected places by its use in businesses, churches, and schools. Read more…

The Mob Justice of Kenya’s Somali Stop-and-Frisk

Police check IDs of ethnic Somalis in Eastleigh.  Photo by Jason Patinkin

Eastleigh, a bustling business district in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, is home to thousands of ethnic Somalis—both Kenyan citizens as well as refugees from Somalia and Ethiopia. Every time I visit Eastleigh, I want to come back for the colorful street scene, the outdoor cafes, the late night shisha bars, and heaping plates of rice and camel meat. But ever since Kenya invaded Somalia in 2011 to fight Al Shabaab militants, Eastleigh has become synonymous with terror.  Read more…

Assassination of cleric ‘Makaburi’ puts Kenya on edge

'Living on borrowed time,' Muslim leader in Kenya told AP months before he was shot dead

In this Tuesday Oct. 29, 2013 file photo, Abubakar Shariff Ahmedsits in his office in Mombasa, Kenya. AP Photo/Jason Straziuso, File

Nairobi, KenyaKenya’s most prominent radical Muslim was gunned down Tuesday night near the coastal city of Mombasa amid escalating violence between government security forces and Muslim youths – raising fears of retaliation and further tension.

Abubaker Shariff Ahmed, an avowed jihadist known popularly as Makaburi, which means graveyard in Swahili, was shot dead at 6:30 p.m. outside a prison where he reported for a scheduled court appearance. Mr. Ahmed is the sixth and highest-profile Muslim cleric to be killed in suspicious circumstances on Kenya’s coast in the past few years. He was under sanctions from the UN Security Council that included a travel ban and an asset freeze for allegedly supporting terrorism.

The killing of Ahmed comes as the government has moved to curb or even preempt terrorism through round-ups and crackdowns. It adds to what seems a circular or “tit-for-tat” reaction in recent weeks between security forces and Muslims and ethnic Somalis.   Read more…

Will Kenya mosque assault radicalize Muslim youths?

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…

In Kenya’s Muslim port: A tale of two mosques

A police officer removes a flag hanged by Muslim youths at Musa Mosque in the coastal town of Mombasa February 2, 2014. Joseph Okanga/Reuters

Mombasa, Kenya Kenya’s new “war on terror,” inaugurated after radical jihadis attacked a swanky Nairobi shopping mall last fall, has rocked the nation, the Muslim community, and the nation’s security forces.

Since then a major police and military focus has been on the coastal city of Mombasa, and on its gritty working-class district called Majengo that features open-air welders and tin-roofed auto shops.  Read more…