MRC spokesman charged as crackdown begins

October 8, 2012 3:00 pm
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MRC spokesman Rashid Mraja with his lawyer Muchai Lumatete after he surrendered to the police/CFM
NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 8 – Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) Spokesman Rashid Mraja was on Monday charged with being in possession of materials advocating for the secession of the Coast province from the rest of the country.

Police had raided Mraja’s home earlier in the morning but failed to find him until he surrendered hours later, accompanied by his lawyer.

Detectives then took him to the Shanzu Law Courts where he denied the charges and was freed on a Sh2m bond by Mombasa Senior Resident Magistrate Timothy Olesanju.

Charges read to him indicated that he was in possession of T-shirts and pamphlets advocating for secession. His case was fixed for hearing on October 30.

He turned himself in after the government announced that it had launched a major crackdown on members of the MRC who are accused of leading a vicious gang in the coastal region.

“We will not spare them… the security operation against the criminal gang in Mombasa has started,” Internal Security Permanent Secretary Mutea Iringo said. “We are starting from the top going down, they will have to face justice.”

“We will arrest all the leaders and their members and they will have to go to court because we have evidence showing the gang is responsible for a series of criminal activities in the coast,” the PS said, even as the MRC spokesman protested innocence.

He accused police of raiding his house and taking away his belongings – including his mobile phone.

Mraja’s wife was briefly detained for questioning before being freed.

Iringo said politicians and religious leaders who have links with the criminal gang will also not be spared in the crackdown that started on Monday.

“We are not going to spare anyone. We are also targeting politicians and religious leaders. The politicians will face justice regardless of their position in government,” Iringo said when he officiated the launch of a crime prevention seminar at the Kenya School of Government in Nairobi.

The crackdown on MRC members follows a series of criminal activities in the coastal region lately – including last week’s attack at a rally organised by Cabinet Minister Amason Kingi.

The minister escaped unhurt in the attack but four people – including his bodyguard were killed.

“We are not going to spare anyone. We are also targeting politicians and religious leaders. The politicians will face justice regardless of their position in government,” Iringo said when he officiated the launch of a crime prevention seminar at the Kenya School of Government in Nairobi.

Reports indicate that the three killed were MRC members who were killed by members of the public after they hacked the minister’s bodyguard who later succumbed to injuries.

The Internal Security PS has announced that his office is working closely with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to ensure the forthcoming general election is held in a secure environment.

The MRC has lately threatened to rally coast residents to boycott the general election due on March 4 next year.

Internal Security Minister Katoo ole Metito revealed last week that the criminal gang is also planning to disrupt national KCSE and KCPE examinations due later next month.

The minister said the government will be moving to court to appeal a ruling that legalised MRC activities.

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