Boy killed, scores injured in Church granade attack in Nairobi
A nine-year-old boy was killed on Sunday morning and five others critically injured in twin grenade attacks on a church along Juja road in Nairobi.
About 30 children were attending a Sunday school service St Polycarp ACK Church when suspected terrorists hurled grenades at them at about 10.30 am. Other victims were injured in a stampede as they tried to escape.
Those injured in the attack were rushed to radiant hospital for treatment. Seven victims with serious injuries have since been transferred to Kenyatta national hospital for further treatment.
Police are holding three suspects for questioning amid claims that the al-shabaab terror group could have been behind the attack
The grenade exploded, spraying the children with shrapnel and fatally injuring the boy.
"We suspect this blast might have been carried out by sympathisers of al Shabaab," said deputy police spokesman Charles Owino.
Police responding to the attack have since cordoned off the area.
"We suspect this blast might have been carried out by sympathisers of al-Shabab. These are the kicks of a dying horse since, of late, Kenyan police have arrested several suspects in connection with grenades." Owino added.
Irene Wambui, who was in the church at the time of the attack, said: "We were just worshipping God in church when suddenly we heard an explosion and people started running for their lives.
"We came to realise that the explosion had injured some kids who were taken to hospital and unfortunately one succumbed."
Nairobi police chief Moses Ombati has appealed for calm after youths reportedly attacked the nearby Alamin mosque.
Starehe MP Margaret Wanjiru who visited the scene condemned the attack and called on the government to urgently conduct investigations to bring the culprits to book. She also emphasized on the need to beef up security in churches to avert further attacks.
"One cannot understand why churches should be attacked. What has happened is unfortunate and should be a wake up call for the government," he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta on his twitter account expressed similar sentiments and warned that the attacks should not escalate to a religious war.
"I would like to strongly condemn the brutal acts of terrorism deliberately targeting our places of worship. My heartfelt condolences go to the family of the child who died and I pray for a quick recovery for those injured in today’s blast," he said.
""My appeal to you is that we should not let these terrorists win by descending into sectarian violence which is the aim of these attacks," he added.
Attacks on churches in the country have been on the rise. In July, 15 people were killed in attacks on churches in Garissa, near Kenya’s border with Somalia.
The latest attack comes two days after Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) backed by Somalia National Army (SNA) captured the port city of Kismayu which was Al Shabaab’s last stronghold in Somalia.
Al Shabaab, which is aligned to al-Qaeda, has used the port to bring in weapons and earn revenue.
Kenyans have been cautioned to remain vigilant following the capture following fears that the militants or their sympathisers may hit back.
Parliament has endorsed the prevention of terrorism bill that is now awaiting presidential assent expected to deal with terrorists setting the penalty for any person who engages in terrorism that results in death to a life sentence.
Kenya began its intervention in Somalia nearly a year ago after a spate of cross-border attacks blamed on Al-Shabab.