Monday, May 20, 2013
Today from Hiiraan Online:
Islamists blamed for Nairobi church killing
Friday, January 18, 2008
A gunman detonated a grenade in a Nairobi church yesterday, killing one worshipper and wounding 16 in the latest in a series of attacks in Kenya since it sent troops into Somalia to crush Islamic militants blamed for cross-border raids.
Nairobi has said al-Shabab militants are behind the surge in violence and kidnappings that have threatened tourism in east Africa's biggest economy.
Police said the pastor of the church was concluding the service when a man who had "camouflaged" himself as a worshipper dropped the grenade and fled.
Some worshippers pursued the man, who drew what police said was a 9mm pistol and fired at his pursuers before disappearing in a maze of alleys in a busy market and residential area.
"One person has been confirmed dead and 16 injured. The motive for the attack has not been established," police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said.
A bloodied footprint marked the entrance of the God's House of Miracle Church, an edifice of corrugated iron sheets that the police estimate could accommodate more than 200 people.
The pastor's glass lectern was shattered and shards were strewn about the floor next to mangled flower arrangements and overturned plastic chairs.
A male worshipper sobbed as he covered his face with a brown handkerchief, shaking his head when asked for an interview.
Worshippers carried the wounded to cars that rushed them to hospitals, and later huddled together, speaking in hushed tones as police ring-fenced the church to keep crowds at bay.
"It just happened; we don't know how it started; we just heard a blast," said Hebo Hamala, a church elder.
The blast resembled two separate attacks at different bus stations and a bar in the capital that killed 10 people and wounded many more last month, and in October last year, a week after Kenyan troops swept into southern Somalia.
"We have seen similar attacks before, in which people throw grenades and run," a police spokesman, Charles Owino, said.
Late last month, one person was killed when a grenade was tossed into an open-air Christian gathering near Mombasa, a major tourist destination.
Minutes later another grenade went off at a bar near Mombasa's main sports stadium but no casualties were reported.
Al-Shabab stopped short of claiming responsibility for the coastal attacks but said at the time that Kenya's security depended on its military activities in Somalia.
"The more Kenyan troops continue to persecute innocent Muslims of Somalia, the less secure Kenyan cities will be; and the more oppression the Muslims of Somalia feel, the more constricted Kenyan life will be," it said.
There have been similar attacks near the border with Somalia since Kenya's military incursion.
Ethiopia also dispatched forces to Somalia to support the anarchic country's shaky government.
Somalia has been in a shambles since warlords toppled dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.
Fighting has claimed more than 21000 people since al-Shabab began its insurgency in 2007, and possibly over 1million in 20 years.
The rebels are fighting to topple the Mogadishu government and impose a harsh brand of sharia, or Islamic law, on the whole of Somalia.
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