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Al-Shabab recruiter killed in Kenya

A radical Muslim cleric in Kenya, Abubakar Shariff Ahmed, has been shot dead outside the coastal city of Mombasa, police and witnesses say.

His corpse lay on a road with what appeared to be wounds to the head and body, Reuters news agency reports. It is not yet known who killed the cleric.

Shariff, known as Makaburi, had been listed by the UN as a recruiter for the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group.

He is the third Muslim cleric to be killed in Mombasa since 2012.

Riots broke out in parts of the city as news of the cleric’s killing spread, reports the BBC’s Muliro Telewa from the capital, Nairobi.

Police fired into the air to push back furious supporters of Shariff, as his family arrived to identify the body, eyewitnesses said.

The UN Security Council had sanctioned the cleric as “a leading facilitator and recruiter of young Kenyan Muslims for violent militant activity in Somalia”.

He always denied recruiting for al-Shabab, or calling on his followers to travel to Somalia to fight.

In a BBC interview in December, Shariff said he was aware he could be killed by the Kenyan security services but added that he was not living in fear.

“I do not fear for my safety,” he said. “I know they are going to kill me. But I am a Muslim. I believe that my life and death [are] in the hands of Allah.”

Last October, Muslim cleric Ibrahim “Rogo” Omar was gunned down in Mombasa.

His killing was similar to that of cleric, Aboud Rogo Mohammed, who was killed in August 2012.

Mohammed had also been accused of recruiting and fundraising for al-Shabab.

Their killings sparked riots in Mombasa.

Supporters of the clerics accused members of the security forces of killing them – allegations denied by government officials.

There have been no arrests over the killings.

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