The outlawed Mombasa Republican Council has rebranded and is planning renewed attacks at the Coast during US President Barack Obama’s visit to Kenya, a leaked Intelligence report warns.
A brief by the National Intelligence Service seen by the Star says the secessionist agenda MRC is at an advanced stage of re-launching itself as the Government of Mombasa.
“They appear to be adopting a new name to remain relevant, as well as seek attention during the Obama visit,” said the report. MRC has for almost five years staged intermittent attacks in Mombasa as it demanded secession, claiming that the national government had neglected the region.
Its leaders have appeared in court several times to answer to various charges and have been released on bail. The government has previously claimed that local politicians are behind the separatist group. According to the latest Intelligence report, MRC adherents plan to stage an attack on the security organs during Obama’s visit to capture his attention in the fight for “Coast self-rule”. “The group plans to provoke a confrontation with security organs in the Coast region during the visit in order to force a favourable statement from President Obama or the Government of the USA,” the report says.
Obama is expected to jet into the country to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit on July 24. The NIS report has sent local security chiefs into a spin and they have in the last few days been holed up in meetings planning how to counter the threat. Kilifi police commander Douglas Kanja, who spoke to the Star on the phone, said he was aware of the various Intelligence reports warning of attacks.
“We issued a press statement and said those who are mentioned in the reports have a week to report to a police station to explain,” said Kanja. Kanja said a combined security team drawn from the AP, regular Police and elite units has been activated to beef up security in Kilifi, which has previously seen several attacks by MRC adherents. “We know there is a group of six people who are suspected to be recruiting but we are on top of things.
And we have also been working with civilians to receive any information about the group. Kilifi is safe,” said Kanja. According to security sources, police have increased patrols in the sacred Kaya Chonyi forests, which the MRC is thought to use for oathing ceremonies.
The NIS report warns that the MRC recruiter in charge of the Tiwi branch in Kwale is behind the change of the MRC name to the Government of Mombasa.
On July 6, Juma Mwapashawa is alleged to have met about 20 MRC sympathizers at an undisclosed location in Ukunda, where violent activities were planned. But the MRC deputy spokesman, Richard Lewa, distanced the group from the allegations. Lewa said the group was still seeking justice from the law courts at the Court of Appeal and would not engage in any violence.
“We know they are making things up so that they can start attacking our bona fide members. They want to claim that we have weapons so that they can resort to extrajudicial killings, but we advocate peace,” said Lewa.