NAIROBI — In the latest in a string of attacks, gunmen killed 16 people and wounded dozens when they opened fire and hurled grenades into two churches in the eastern Kenyan town of Garissa Sunday, officials said.
The Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims condemned the attacks, saying that “all places of worship must be respected.”
“We want to send our condolences, and we are sad that no arrests have been made yet,” said chairman Abdulghafur El-Busaidy.
In apparently coordinated attacks, the gunmen burst into churches targeting worshippers offering prayers in Garissa, some 140 km from the border with war-torn Somalia.
“At the AIC (Africa Inland Church) 10 people were shot dead within the church compound, and three were injured in a Catholic Church,” said deputy regional police chief Philip Ndolo. “We condemn this act in the strongest of terms.”
Kenyan Red Cross chief Abbas Gullet said others died on the way to hospital, taking the number killed to 16. At least 40 others were wounded, 10 of them critically, he added.
Police said up to seven men were involved in the attacks, which come two days after gunmen killed a Kenyan driver and abducted four foreign aid workers from the Dadaab refugee camp, some 80 km northeast of Garissa. “We have not arrested any suspects, but we have reports that five suspects were involved in the AIC attack in a combination of grenade and shooting, while two suspects were involved in the Catholic church attack,” said Ndolo.
Witnesses said the bodies lay scattered as scores of wounded were rushed to hospital. “It is a horrible sight to see,” said Hussein Abdi, a resident of Garissa.
“It is a terrible scene, you can see bodies lying everywhere,” said regional police chief Leo Nyongesa, adding the attackers had killed two policemen posted to guard the churches. — AFP