Wednesday, 03 Oct 2012

Restoring peace in Coast Province

"Burning of churches and throwing grenades at the police is not something to be taken lightly, it means the culprits are able to handle such deadly weapons which can only be done by a trained person. All we are saying is there are no denominational conflicts here but extremist groups", says Phyllis Muema the director of Kenya community support centre in Mombasa, when she was interviewed by Diana Wanyonyi; one of the Journalists mentored in Mombasa in September.

On August 27th 2012 Sheikh Aboud Rogo was shot and killed by unidentified assailants in Mombasa. Riots erupted in the wake of his killing resulting in the destruction of property with three churches getting vandalized and looted in the process. 4 people including 3 police officers died in a couple of days.

According to Mercy Kanini, a Mombasa businesswoman, some youths took advantage of the situation and began burning churches in Mwandoni, they then proceeded to break into a bar and stole drinks of unknown value.

The government responded swiftly by sending security personnel to calm the situation, an operation that left some residents with injuries.

"I was here attending to one of my customers when suddenly GSU officers came and started beating me, to date I am still nursing injuries on my legs and chest" says Mzee Karisa, a resident of Majengo.

Internews responded to the conflict situation by sending a trainer to Mombasa to mentor journalists and assist them in covering unfolding events in a conflict sensitive manner. Journalists Diana Wanyony (BARAKA FM), Tima Kisasa (Pwani FM) and Jacob Safari FM were being mentored while Ebrahim Olum of Radio RHAMA received a travel grant to report on inter-religious relations at the Coast Province.

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