Grenade attack on Kenya church kills 1, wounds 14


Published — Monday 5 November 2012

Last update 5 November 2012 5:55 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

NAIROBI: Gunmen hurled a grenade at a Kenyan church in a town near the Somali border yesterday, killing one policeman and wounding another 14 people, the latest such strike in the volatile area since Nairobi sent troops into Somalia to fight Al-Qaeda-linked insurgents.
The attack occurred during morning prayers at the church in the northeastern town of Garissa, which is home to a large number of Somalis and where 18 people were killed in similar grenade blasts in July.
“We have one fatality,” said regional police chief Philip Tuimur after a policeman died of his wounds in the attack on the Utawala church at a police camp in Garissa, which lies about 140 kilometers (90 miles) from the Somali border. “We have mobilized our officers to track down the attackers,” Tuimur added, without giving further details.
Kenya has been rocked by a wave of grenade attacks on cities including the capital Nairobi and the key port of Mombasa since the country sent troops into its troubled neighbor in October last year to fight the Al-Qaeda linked Shebab.
Fourteen people were also wounded in yesterday’s attack, which police said was carried out by two armed men. Most of the victims were policemen.
“We are attending victims mostly suffering from shrapnel wounds and burns, and we are evacuating to Nairobi three of the victims due to the nature of their injuries,” Dr. Mohamed Sheikh, medical director at the Garissa Hospital said.
The grenade “ripped through the roof during prayer session,” said a police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity, while witnesses cited by police said the attackers also fired gunshots.
In early July, at least 18 people were killed in attacks on two churches in Garissa, while in January five people were killed in a grenade blast at a bar in the town.
A child was also killed in a suspected grenade attack on a church in Nairobi in September, triggering reprisal attacks against the Somali community there.
The attacks and cross-border raids in the northeastern region have been blamed on the Shebab militants or their Kenyan supporters, who vowed revenge after Nairobi’s troops invaded last year.
The Shebab still control large parts of southern Somalia, despite African Union troops, allied Somali forces and Ethiopian soldiers wresting control of several key towns from the insurgents.
Human Rights Watch last month warned Kenyan security forces to end what it described as abuses in the hunt for suspected backers of Shebab militants, accusing them of beating and shooting at civilians as well as looting and destroying their property.
“Kenyan police officers are apparently responding to attacks on their forces with abuses against entire villages,” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director at HRW.
“Kenyan police need to investigate attacks on their forces carefully, and arrest and prosecute the people responsible instead of attacking everyone in sight.” It said Kenyan security forces have repeatedly accused residents of either harboring Shebab gunmen or participating in attacks, and have carried out abusive operations against them.
“Senior police officials should immediately follow up on the many complaints of police abuse,” Lefkow said.
In May, the rights group also charged that Kenyan security forces were abusing ethnic Somalis in the same region, accusing them of rape, arbitrary detention of civilians, looting and extortion.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: A number of parents have complained about the lack of hygiene in schools, expressing fears about the potential spread of the MERS virus with the beginning of the new academic year. This comes in the backdrop of another death due to the deadly...
JEDDAH: Disputes over sharing of property or inheriting family business are common. But Dhahran has witnessed an unusual fight among four brothers — over donating kidney to their youngest brother.Coincidentally, all the brothers were found fit to don...
RIYADH: The Ministry of Justice has quashed rumors over the recent acquittal of a man who had been charged with rape-murder of his five-year-old daughter, warning that anybody trying to defame the judiciary will face strict action, local media report...
JEDDAH: A market in Jeddah offers used clothes and other items, including foodstuff, at throwaway prices. However, the deal may be fraught with risks as the foodstuff could be out of date and the clothes infested with microbes. “Many of the items, es...
JEDDAH: A number of visually impaired citizens are expecting candidates to address their problems and make life easier for them after winning the Dec. 12 municipal elections.A section of these voters have also sought special programs so that they can...
RIYADH: The Ministry of Interior recently launched a series of training programs to upgrade the efficiency of its female staff as a new step to empower women and give them an opportunity to shine in security-related fields.Maha Frehi, the manager of...

Stay Connected