One killed in Kenyan separatist protest

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One person was killed in Kenya during a protest against the government’s rule of the Mombasa coastal strip, a tourism magnet and one of the country’s main foreign exchange earners.

The protest came after the government banned the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC), a group calling for the coastal city area to secede.

More than 50 people stormed a court that was hearing a case in which the MRC has challenged the government ruling. Police fired tear gas to disperse the protesters, Reuters reports.
“I can confirm that one person died in the confrontation after the youths affiliated with the MRC stormed the law courts,” said regional police chief Aggrey Adoli.

Adoli said the youth died after he was hit by a stone thrown by a fellow protester. He denied reports by some protesters that police had fired live rounds.
“The death of the youth was not as a result of a police bullet, but rather he died of wounds inflicted after his colleague hit him with a stone,” he said.

Adoli said the protesters had been warned to stay away from the court. Police made several arrests and several protesters were injured.

The MRC says it wants the coastal strip, which includes Kenya’s main port, to run its own affairs and accuses successive governments of doing too little to alleviate poverty.

President Mwai Kibaki said in a state of the nation address in parliament on Tuesday the coastal region would remain part of Kenya.

MRC chairman Omar Mwamnwadzi said: “The action by the police … has caused tension in the region. If anything happens as a result, I cannot be blamed because the government has pushed us to the wall.”

The group says it has thousands of members, mainly unemployed youths.