Islamic Extremists Likely Killed Pastor in Mombasa, Kenya for Christian Activities

Alleged comment from unidentified suspect indicates link to radical mosque.

Street scene in Majengo area of Mobasa, Kenya. (Morning Star News via olx.co.ke)

Street scene in Majengo area of Mobasa, Kenya. (Morning Star News via olx.co.ke)

NAIROBI, Kenya (Morning Star News) – Suspected Islamic extremists likely killed a church leader in Mombasa last week for sharing his faith near a mosque and alerting authorities to security threats, sources said.

In the Majengo area of the coastal city where leaders at the Masjid Musa Mosque were suspected of training violent jihadists, the suspects on the night of Feb. 2 killed 59-year-old Lawrence Kazungu Kadenge, an assistant pastor at Glory of God Ministries Church. Saying they were looking for militant equipment, authorities had raided the mosque that day, reportedly leaving a Muslim man and a police officer dead and touching off riots.

In the slaying of Kadenge at his church building, a neighbor heard one of two suspects say, “Make sure you have killed him – he has been promoting his religion near our mosque,” a Christian leader told Morning Star News.

Area Christians believe hard-line Muslims were upset at Kadenge for evangelizing near the mosque and for informing authorities about security threats, he said. Police said gunfire from the mosque was directed at them before they fired live rounds and tear gas in the assault on the site. Some youths reportedly raised the black flag of Somalia-based terrorist organization Al Shabaab at the mosque that day.

“We as the pastors in Mombasa are living in fear because pastors are being eliminated one by one,” said the Christian leader, who requested anonymity for security reasons. “We need prayers that the church will survive these attacks as we are being targeted by the radical Muslims.”

A Mombasa police official, Henry Ondieki, reportedly said Muslim youths had distributed leaflets on jihad at the mosque, long suspected of being a recruitment site for terrorist organizations.

“This is not a mosque for prayers but a base for recruiting Muslim youths to engage in terrorist activities,” Ondieki told the Daily Nation.

On Oct. 19, suspected Islamic extremists in Mombasa killed pastor Charles “Patrick” Matole of Vikwantani Redeemed Gospel Church following riots associated with the same mosque. Matole had received death threats.

The murder came a few weeks after rioting in Mombasa by Muslims enraged at the killing of sheikh Ibrahim Omar and three others on a road near Mombasa (see Morning Star News, Oct. 7). During the riots, Muslim youths from the Masjid Musa Mosque shouting “Allahu Akbar [God is Greater]” set fire to the Salvation Army Church building in the Majengo area. They accused police of killing the hard-line Islamist sheikh, and in the police response to the rampaging Muslim youths, including officers’ efforts to stop them from attacking a Pentecostal church in Mombasa, four people were reportedly killed and several others wounded.

Omar had been a student of sheikh Aboud Rogo, also mysteriously killed in his vehicle in August 2012, who had been accused of aiding in recruitment and funding for the Somalia-based Al Shabaab. At the Musa Mosque, some 200 meters from the Salvation Army Church building, Omar reportedly issued incendiary sermons against non-Muslims. According to Kenya’s National Intelligence Service, the imam had invited jihadists from Somalia to bomb targets in Nairobi and Mombasa in retaliation for the killing of Rogo. The same Salvation Army Church building was set ablaze in 2012 in response to the killing of Rogo.

Al Shabaab, affiliated with Al Qaeda, took responsibility for the assault on the Westgate Shopping Mall on Sept. 21, 2013, which killed at least 67 people with dozens still unaccounted for. The assailants killed those they could identify as non-Muslims. Al Shabaab has said attacks on Kenyan soil are in retaliation for Kenyan-led African Union forces retaking ground from the Islamic extremist group in its attempt to take over Somalia.

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