Four MRC suspects arrested in Mombasa, weapons seized.

Four MRC suspects arrested in Mombasa, weapons seized.

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Police in Mombasa’s Kisauni area arrested four people belonging to the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC), they said on Monday, and seized weapons they claimed the suspects were planning to use in attacks on unspecified targets on the Coast.

The MRC has been seeking independence for the Coast of Kenya, accusing the central government of socially and economically marginalising the indigenous people in the region.

“We arrested the four after we raided their hideout in Mwandoni area, within Kisauni in Mombasa. They are two men and two women. We were acting on intelligence,” Walter Abongo, Kisauni area deputy police chief, said.

Abongo said they recovered machetes, MRC flags and head scarfs, as well as sachets of narcotics he said were heroin.

The group was previously outlawed by the government but in 2012 a court overturned that ban, and instead asked them to register as a society.

The government insists it is an illegal group, and has accused it of involvement in a spate of killings in 2012 and 2013, including attacks on the eve of the presidential elections when at least 15 people were killed. The group denies involvement.

It was also linked to an attack in November where six suspects were killed when a gang of between 15 and 20 attackers raided a military barracks in Nyali. The group denied involved.

The MRC secretary general Randu Nzai denied that their members were among those arrested.

“These are people tarnishing our name. MRC doesn’t know them and has nothing to do with them,” Nzai, told Baraka FM.

The four were expected to appear in court on Monday.