Cleric found dead with Bible in his lap

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iol pic afr kenya unrest AFP A man who survived the drive-by shooting of Muslim cleric Sheikh Ibrahim Ismail is seen next to a bullet-riddled car on the Mombasa-Malindi highway on October 3, 2013. File photo: AFP


Mombasa - Two Christian clerics on Kenya's coast were killed in separate attacks at the weekend, witnesses said on Sunday, two weeks after the killing of a Muslim preacher sparked deadly riots in the port city of Mombasa.

Charles Matole, a leader of Mombasa's Vikwatani Redeemed Gospel Church, was found dead in the church on Sunday morning, sitting on a chair with a Bible on his lap - apparently preparing his Sunday morning service.

“We found him with blood oozing from the head,” said choir member Morris Ali, adding that no property had been taken from the church.

Ali said Matole had spoken of receiving death threats by text message.

In an apparently unrelated killing in the town of Kilifi, about 60km north of Mombasa, the body of a pastor with the East African Pentecostal Churches, Ebrahim Kidata, was found dumped in a patch of bushes, congregation members said.

Kilifi county deputy speaker Teddy Mwambire said the cleric, who was in his mid-fifties and who was ordained just a few weeks earlier, appeared to have been strangled.

Kidata's relatives said they had lost phone contact with him on Saturday as he travelled by motorbike between two towns in the region. Local officials said his motorcycle was stolen by the killers.

The region remained calm as news of the killings emerged.

Mombasa erupted into riots earlier this month after unknown gunmen killed four people including popular Muslim cleric Sheikh Ibrahim Ismail in a late-night drive-by shooting on October 3.

Rioters set fire to a Protestant church and clashed with police in furious street battles that killed four protesters.


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