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Kenya: Pastor Killed in Attack

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On
Sunday morning, Nov. 4, suspected Muslim extremists hurled a grenade onto the
roof of the Utawala Interdenominational Church, killing a police chaplain and
injuring at least 11 others. The church, which is located inside a police
compound in Garissa, serves police officers stationed at the compound as well
as their families.

Witnesses
said the grenade was thrown from outside the compound at about 10 a.m. and landed
on the church’s sheet-iron roof. Administration Police Chaplain Julius Mukonzi,
who was killed in the attack, was delivering a sermon from the pulpit when the grenade
detonated over his head. Witnesses reported hearing gunfire shortly after the
attack.

At
least 11 of the estimated 40 worshipers inside the church were injured in the
attack. The wounded were treated at the Garissa Provincial General Hospital, and
three were later airlifted to Nairobi for specialized treatment. Most of the
wounded were police officers.

Other
churches ended their services early as news of the attack spread throughout the
area. Local church leaders have called for an inquiry into the recent increase
in anti-Christian violence.

Although
no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, authorities believe it was
carried out by the Muslim extremist group al-Shabab. Police initiated a massive
security operation as a result of the incident.

Al-Shabab
has staged several similar attacks in the past year, including a grenade attack
on a Nairobi church in September that killed a 9-year-old boy and an attack in
Garissa on July 1 that killed 18 people.

Sources:
BBC, Reuters, VOM contacts

Posted: November 13, 2012



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