Published: 09:40 GMT Daylight Time - Tuesday 03 July 2012
Barnabas helps victims of deadly church attacks in Kenya
Country/Region: Africa, Kenya
“Sunday morning started like any other day of worship for many Christians in Garissa town. Little did they know that it would turn out to be a very dark day. As worshippers worshipped God in some churches others were fighting for their dear lives and some were dead in others.”Barnabas Aid contact in Kenya
Barnabas Aid is helping victims of a coordinated attack on two churches in Kenya by suspected al-Shabaab militants that left at least 17 people dead and around 65 injured.
Kenyan troops launched operations against al-Shabaab last October
The churches, which are 3km apart in Garissa, were targeted during services on Sunday (1 July) at around 10.15am.
The first and most serious attack took place at the African Inland Church, where the gunmen shot dead two policemen who were guarding the building before throwing grenades inside. As the congregation tried to escape, the assailants opened fire on them; 15 members of the church were killed in the onslaught.
A Barnabas Aid contact in Kenya said:
The gun shots in the compound made worshipers run out in panic only to the waiting killers. Using police guns, they rained bullets on fleeing worshippers and many who could not run. Blood could be seen everywhere, furniture strewn all over and worshipers left in shock.
He said that the death toll is likely to rise, as some people were very seriously injured. He said that the police guards had been negligent, failing to take seriously the threat to the church.
Two grenades were thrown inside a second church; one failed to detonate, but three people were injured by the other.
Barnabas Aid sent an emergency grant to help meet the needs of Christians affected by the attacks. It is being used to buy medical items and equipment, including blood donor sets, strapping, sterile gauze, and test kits for Hepatitis B and C, to help the wounded; to provide food for affected families; and helping the bereaved with burial expenses.
Our partner is also looking into how security can be improved at church buildings in the area in light of a number of recent anti-Christian attacks.
In April, an infiltrator at a church in Nairobi threw a grenade into the congregation, killing one person and injuring 15. Two Christians were killed and around 50 wounded when Muslims threw a grenade into an open-air Christian gatheringin Mtwapa, near Mombasa, on 31 March.
Garissa was the site of another anti-Christian attack last November; a suspected al-Shabaab grenade attack on a church compound there left two dead and three injured.
The eastern town is a military staging point for Kenyan operations into neighbouring Somalia. Kenya sent troops into Somalia last October to hunt down al-Shabaab militants believed to have been behind kidnappings and other acts of violence within Kenyan territory. Since then, Kenya has been hit by a series of grenade and bomb attacks, the suspected retaliatory work of al-Shabaab.
Muslim leaders in Kenya have vowed that they will arrange for Muslim youth to provide protection at churches in Garissa and other places where Christians request it.
If you would like to help Christians affected by the church attacks in Kenya, please send your donation to project Victims of Violence Fund (00-345). using our secure server.
If you prefer to telephone, dial: 0800 587 4006 from within the UK or +44 1672 565031 from outside the UK. Please quote project reference Victims of Violence Fund (00-345).
If you prefer to send a cheque by post: Click this link for the address of our regional office. Please quote project reference Victims of Violence Fund (00-345).
For a quick donation of £3.00 by SMS (see terms and conditions here) text Barnabas/345 to 70007 (Please note: This facility is presently only available to UK supporters).