At least one person has been killed and two security officers seriously injured in clashes in the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa after police stormed a mosque.
Police raided the Musa mosque on Sunday in the Majengo district after worshippers raised al-Shabab flag and defied a police warning not to meet.
Police said they raided the mosque acting on intelligence that a meeting to recruit fighters was going on.
Police later occupied the mosque and its precincts, local police chief Robert Kitur told AFP news agency.
“They turned violent and attacked our officers but we have managed to arrest over 100 who will be charged tomorrow,” he said without giving further details.
A reporter at the scene saw police shoot and kill one person as they tried to disperse a growing crowd screaming “Allahu Akbar” or “God is Great” outside the mosque, which has been the recent site of violent confrontations between young Muslims and police.
Two officers were stabbed in the stomach and were being treated at the hospital, Kitur said.
The police fired tear-gas and live rounds over the heads of taunting crowds, who hurled stones back, Reuters news agency reported.
Henry Ondieki, the Mombasa chief of criminal investigations, backed the the police, saying: “This was not a normal day of prayers.”
“Their intention was clear: they were planning to recruit and attack innocent Kenyan civilians.”
But the head of a Mombasa-based rights group criticised the police action.
“There was no need for excessive force and the police should have restrained themselves to avoid bloodshed,” said Khalid Hussein, executive director of Haki Africa.
He said that it came the day after they asked police to avoid violence and talk to the youth.
“We condemn strongly the move by the police to cause violence inside a place of worship,” Hussein told AP.