17 killed, 50 injured in Garissa church attacks
17 people were killed Sunday and scores injured in simultaneous grenade and gun attacks at the Garissa Catholic and AIC churches in yet another affront on Kenya by terrorists.
Police say the attacks happened as the congregations were in prayers and no arrests have been made so far.
The gunmen are said to have attacked and killed two police officers taking their guns and using them to terrorize worshipers before hurling grenades at the churches with the AIC church suffering the brunt of the attacks.
And after the sound of guns and explosions went silent, 10 people had succumbed to the attack while 40 others received serious injuries.
Others succumbed to their injuries at the Garissa Provincial General hospital where the injured were rushed for treatment.
The latest incident has attracted widespread condemnation even as the country prepares to enact a law to deal with sponsors of terror.
The terrorism bill 2012 is yet to be presented on the floor of the house since its rejection in 2003 by a section of stakeholders.
And even before its tabling, the bill has continued to attract strong opposition from Muslim leaders in the country.
But as the debate gathers momentum the country continues to suffer acts of terrorism with its capital city Nairobi having suffered grenade attacks at its CBD in recent times.
The coastal region has not been spared either with the latest grenade attack killing three people and leaving scores injured as well as the frequent attacks in the up north including the kidnappings of five workers at the Daadab refugee camp last week.
Kenya’s border region has been tense since it sent troops into Somalia to pursue al-Shabab Islamic militants.
Operations against the militant group launched last October, were designed to bring an end to cross border kidnappings and other violence which it blamed on al-Shabab.
But since then, al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for a string of grenade and bomb blasts across Kenya, many deadly. No claim of responsibility has yet been made for these latest attacks.
According to North Eastern Deputy PPO, Philip Ndolo, 10 victims died at the AIC, while three people were injured in the apparently co-ordinated attack at the Catholic church.
Witnesses told AFP news agency that bodies lay scattered in the blood-spattered churches as scores of wounded were rushed to hospital.
"It is a terrible scene, you can see bodies lying in the churches," regional police chief Leo Nyongesa told the agency, adding the attackers had wrestled guns off police who had been posted outside churches following previous attacks.
Garissa is close to the Dadaab refugee camp, where gunmen kidnapped four aid workers and killed a driver on Friday in an attack Ndolo said he suspected al-Shabab sympathizers of carrying out.