Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 May 2016, 12:25 GMT

Muslim Youth Center's Spiritual Leader Assassinated in Mombassa

Publisher Jamestown Foundation
Publication Date 28 September 2012
Cite as Jamestown Foundation, Muslim Youth Center's Spiritual Leader Assassinated in Mombassa , 28 September 2012, available at: [accessed 1 June 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

The Lamu-born Shaykh Aboud Rogo Mohammed, who was the spiritual and ideological leader of the Muslim Youth Center (MYC) in Kenya, was shot and killed in a car driving near Jomo Kenyatta Public Beach in Mombasa on August 25. According to his wife, who was in the car, "A car behind us aimed at my husband, they shot him on the right side." (The Nation, [Nairobi], August 27). Although the identity of the assassins remains unknown, following his death Rogo's supporters in Mombasa rioted and expressed their anger by burning a government van, attacking a Salvation Army church and another church and killing one person (Standard Media, August 28). 

The local Muslim Human Rights Forum suggested it was a government assassination, noting that others on the country's "terrorism watch list" have been assassinated (Muslim Human Rights Forum, [Nairobi]). Similarly, the Muslim Youth Center announced on the blog platform Tumblr that "our beloved Shaykh Aboud Rogo (May Allah accept him as a martyr) was murdered by the Kuffar as part of Kenya's policy of extra-judicial killings against prominent Muslim activists" (Tumblr, August 27). The MYC's overall leader, Amir Shaykh Ahmad Iman Ali, issued a statement on Twitter saying "we are on the right track when our leaders get shahadah [martyrdom]." Days before the assassination Rogo claimed that ten men had attempted to abduct him at a bus station in the same way that other terror suspects, such as Shaykh Samir Khan and Shaykh Mohammad Kassim had recently been abducted. Khan's corpse was later found in Tsavo West National Park, but Kassim's body has not been found (The Star, [Nairobi], August 27). 

Rogo had also been on the U.S. Treasury Department sanctions list for "engaging in acts that directly or indirectly threaten the peace, security or stability of Somalia," including fundraising and recruiting for al-Shabaab and rejecting the peace process in the country. He was also previously acquitted of involvement in the 2002 bombing of an Israeli-owned hotel near Mombasa, which killed twelve Kenyans and three Israelis. He is alleged to have introduced Fazul Abdullah Mohammad, the late head of al-Qaeda's East Africa cell who was shot dead in 2011 in Mogadishu, to at least one of the men who helped carry out the twin bombings in 1998 in Nairobi and Dar-as-Salaam at the U.S. Embassies that killed 224 people.

It remains to be seen whether more assassinations like this one against Rogo will take place in Kenya and whether the assassination is, as local Muslim groups claim, part of a government campaign of extrajudicial killings of Islamist leaders in the country. Nonetheless, Rogo's supporters appear to be radicalizing as a result of his assassination. According to reports in Mombasa, young claim to have no faith in the government investigating Rogo's death and believe it is their duty to carry out jihad in Mombasa (The Star, [Nairobi], September 1). 

Copyright notice: © 2010 The Jamestown Foundation

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