Aboud Rogo's last moments

Saturday September 1 2012

Aboud Rogo Mohammed before the Mombasa Chief Magistrate where he was charged for being in possession of illegal firearms in this file photo.
Photo|FILE Aboud Rogo Mohammed before the Mombasa Chief Magistrate where he was charged for being in possession of illegal firearms in this file photo. He had been a peripheral figure in the radical Islamist world for years until the serious planning for the 2002 attacks began.
2 policemen killed in Mombasa attack
By NYAMBEGA GISESA [email protected]

Sheikh Aboud Rogo had grown increasingly fearful for his safety since being listed as a terror mastermind by the US Government but, on the day he met his death, he was quite relaxed.

Friends and relatives who spoke to the Sunday Nation say Sheikh Rogo was focused on getting his wife, Haniya Said Sagal, to hospital on Monday, August 27.

Very early on that day, he called one of his closest friends Said Abubaker Shariff Ahmed alias Makaburi and told him that he planned to spend much of the day with his wife Haniya at the Muslim-sponsored Mewa Hospital that shares a fence with Masjid Musa, the mosque where Sheikh Rogo taught radical jihadism to his followers.

He had six passengers in his van that included his father Abdalla Ali on the front side, his wife and daughters.

After constantly complaining about his life being in danger, Sheikh Rogo had decided to constantly travel with members of his family or friends for security purposes.

A family source says they noticed a car tracking their vehicle but did not pay much attention because this had become a familiar sight.

The car had followed them for some time but Rogo was largely untroubled because he was with his family and he thought that an attempt on his life in front of his daughters, wife and father was unlikely. The issue of the car left their minds after some time.

But, as they approached the Pirates Beach Club on the Mombasa-Malindi highway, a car overtook them and blocked their way. Then shots were fired at the driver’s side where Rogo was sitting. “They have killed my husband,” his wife shouted.

Witnesses reported that as the incident unfolded, vehicles were not moving on both sides of the busy highway.

Less than 200 metres away, police at the Bamburi Police Station reportedly remarked that the sound of the gunfire did not sound like arms used by Kenyan police.

About 18 bullets were fired into Sheikh Rogo’s vehicle, killing him and wounding his wife. (READ: Terror suspect died under a cloud of controversy)

“We arrived at the scene almost immediately but did not find any spent cartridges,” Hussein Khalid, the executive director of Muslim for Human Rights (Muhuri), told the Sunday Nation.

“The first people at the scene told us that traffic police officers collected the cartridges,” he said. When police from Bamburi Police Station arrived, onlookers who had rushed to offer help at the scene chased them away.

“You have killed my husband. I don’t want your help,” Haniya, Rogo’s wife, told the officers. Rogo’s friend Makaburi, who is wanted by police on suspicion of orchestrating the recent violent protests in Mombasa, was the first one to notify members of Rogo’s family and friends of the tragic turn of events.

“I told them that Rogo had been killed by the same hit squad that had been following us,” Makaburi told the Sunday Nation from his hiding place, alleging a police hand in the killing.

Kenyan police have denied taking part in the killing and blamed infighting within Al-Shabaab, a group for which Sheikh Rogo was an unrepentant recruiting agent.

A strict follower of Islam’s Sharia law, Rogo was buried as fast as possible. He was removed from the scene, cleaned, taken to the mosque and then straight away to Kiziwi’s Manyombo Muslim cemetery.

“The prayers lasted less than two minutes. Although there are burials carried out within a very short time, that one was too fast. I have never attended any like that,” Mr Khalid, who witnessed Rogo’s burial, said.

According to Sheikh Rogo’s family, his vehicle was stopped four days before his death by a group of what they claimed were Kenyan security officials who, after discovering that it was Rogo’s brother driving the van, said that they had confused the number plate.

“That is the day they wanted to kill him but they left after discovering that the driver was his brother and not him,” a close family relative who requested not to be named for fear of being targeted by security agencies said.

The incident came barely three weeks after Rogo and Makaburi alleged in court that they were stopped by people who wanted to kidnap them in Nairobi.

When we travelled to the Rogo’s family home in Likoni to meet his wife, Haniya who is going through Edda, a Muslim ceremony that entails a widow staying away from the public for 40 days, sent his father Sheikh Said Saggar to inform us that the family had “closed the chapter”.

“He is dead. Talking anything even to investigators will not be helpful to us. He has died and left us and this cannot be undone,” she said. Friends allege a wider conspiracy in the killing.

“We are certain that there is a hit squad targeting Muslim clerics and other Muslims perceived to be extremists. These mercenaries are monitoring our phones, our lives and then killing us. We believe that Americans, Britons and Israeli security agencies are involved,” Makaburi said.

The US has denied involvement in the killing.