Because I have not seen much conversation around the attacks on two churches in Garissa, Kenya, this past Sunday, I thought I’d start some conversation around the topic. We received word from some friends who are working there, Francis and Anne Omondi, about these attacks early on Sunday morning our time here in the States.
Due to the instability caused by famine in the Horn of Africa, many people within the region have been displaced. This has also heightened activity by militant groups such as Al Shabaab in Somalia. It appears that Al Shabaab or a related group is behind these attacks, although no one has formally taken responsibility for the attacks thus far.
Here’s an excerpt from the BBC’s reporting:
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, Mahamad Abey Shekh, said 15 people had been killed.
About 40 were thought to be wounded, several in serious condition.
The first and most serious attack took place at the Africa Inland Church, 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. [read more here]
This returns to an issue that I have raised – along with many others – in the past few years about the apparent rise of global violence against Christianity (see also the re-post: “Who Will Defend Mideast Christians?”). We need to honestly look at these issues and consider what it means to stand with our brothers and sisters in Christ around the globe. What do you think?
Here are some comments from the Vatican and the White House (via The Huffington Post web-site):
The Vatican spokesman condemned the “vile” and “disgraceful” attacks and said they showed the necessity of defending the rights of Christians to celebrate their faith and “oppose irresponsible acts that fuel hatred among religions.”
The White House also condemned the attacks, saying: “At a time of transition, peace and stability are essential to Kenya’s progress. We support those who recognize Kenya’s ethnic and religious diversity as one of the country’s greatest strengths.” [read more here]