– 17 KILLED IN GARISSA CHURCHES ATTACK IN KENYA
Seventeen people have been killed, on Sunday 07/01/2012, in attacks on churches in the Kenyan town of Garissa near Somalia, the Kenyan Red Cross and a medical official said. Sunday’s attacks took place during morning sermons at the churches in the garrison town. The Provincial Medical Officer for North Eastern Province in Kenya. About 40 were thought to be wounded, several in serious condition.
Regional deputy police chief Philip Ndolo said “goons” attacked the town’s Catholic church and the African Inland Church (AIC). A combination of grenades and gunfire was used, police said.
Kenya’s border region has been tense since it sent troops into Somalia to pursue al-Shabab Islamic militants (see – Almadow Operation). Since then, al-Shabab has been blamed for a further string of grenade and bomb blasts across Kenya – though it has never admitted to carrying out any such attack on Kenyan territory.
The Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims also condemned Sunday’s church attacks, saying that “all places of worship must be respected”, reported the AFP news agency.
The first and most serious attack took place at the AIC, police told our correspondent. Gunmen shot two policemen outside one of the churches, and grenades were then thrown inside. As the panicked congregation rushed to escape, gunmen fired on them, police said. At least 10 people died.
In the second – apparently co-ordinated – attack at a Catholic church, two grenades were thrown inside the church. One failed to go off, but police say three people were injured by the other one.
Police said up to seven gunmen were involved in the attacks, but none had been apprehended.
Garissa is the capital of North Eastern province, about 140km (90 miles) from the Somali border. It is close to the Dadaab refugee camp, where gunmen kidnapped four aid workers and killed a driver on Friday in an attack Mr Ndolo said he suspected al-Shabab sympathisers of carrying out. The 4 foreign aid workers kidnapped in Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp were released overnight on Sunday in southern Somalia after a short gunfight, and are safe with the Kenyan army, officials have said.
“They are safe in our hands, they have been freed,” Kenyan army spokesman Cyrus Oguna said, adding that the two men and two women seized on Friday were released after a joint operation between Kenyan and Somali troops.
* In Nigeria Christian Churches are the favorite targets of Boko Haram and Christians suffer persecutions all over most of the Arab and Muslim countries (see – PERSECUTIONS ).
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