MOMBASA (Xinhua) --
Kenyan police on Thursday arrested 46 suspected
members of the separatist group, the Mombasa Republic Council (MRC),
in the coastal city of Mombasa.
police commander Benjamin Rotich said security officers ambushed
the group, suspected to be behind insecurity in the coastal
region, when it was holding an illegal meeting at a popular
Rotich said suspects who include elderly and youth were
having an illegal meeting.
"They did not have a permit to hold the meeting. We have
kicked off investigations," said Rotich.
The police have been accusing the MRC, an increasingly
violent Islamic group of working in cahoots with al-Shabaab
terrorist group, to carry out the gruesome attacks in the
MRC whose key agenda remains largely unclear beyond the call
for the separation of Mombasa and the coastal region from the
rest of Kenya is also charging that the coastal people’s rights
to land and property ownership has been violated.
Rotich said they have launched search for more accomplices in
crime-prone Likoni area, noting that those arrested will be
taken to court on Friday.
Documents show the suspects are from Kwale, Kilifi and Lamu
counties and the motive behind the meeting in the coastal region
A security source who was part of the operation said dozens
of MRC membership cards were seized from the suspects.
Eric Wawlevu, Likoni deputy county commissioner, said that by
the time of the arrest, the group members were taking illegal
oaths at the beach.
The group’s grievances are mostly about marginalization and
land rights which are shared by many on the coast.
On 2010, the government declared the MRC, together with 32
other organizations, illegal on grounds that they were not
properly registered and were bent on engaging in criminal
Security agencies suspect the MRC could be receiving funding
from Somali insurgent group al-Shabaab to carry out terror
attacks in the region including the killing of more than 60
people in Lamu in 2014.