Woman seized over Mombasa church bomb scare


A woman was Sunday arrested at the Anglican Church of Kenya’s Mombasa Memorial Cathedral after worshippers noticed her talking on her mobile phone and sending text messages during a service.

At the same time, worshipping was suspended after some security guards became suspicious of occupants of a vehicle parked at the church’s main entrance.

“They tried to enter the church using the main gate. When we stopped them from doing so, they used the exit gate to enter the place. After parking the car, which had deflated tyres, they fled,” said one of the guards.

Armed police officers cordoned off the area as they questioned the woman for several hours. She kept on crying during the interrogation. When the woman was released, worshippers turned rowdy, forcing the police officers to re-arrest her. She was then taken to a police station.

A sniffer dog was brought to the scene but it was not clear whether it detected anything dangerous. The vehicle was later towed away to the provincial police headquarters.


Officers said the woman’s mobile phone would be analysed to establish who she was conversing with.

Bishop Julius Kalu said the incident caused panic in the church. He was about to go to the pulpit when he was alerted that there was a bomb scare.

“We normally have five services per day. The first and second services went on uninterrupted. But at 12.15pm, I was told that some people had been seen forcing their way in through the wrong gate. The police told us to immediately move the faithful out of the church,” he said.

The car that was abandoned at the church is

The car that was abandoned at the church is towed away. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA |


The cleric said the presence of a car right at the entrance of the church, with its tyres deflated, raised suspicion.

The bishop said about 850 people worship at the church, which is guarded by police.

Ms Martha Wanjiru, a worshipper, said: “The woman’s hair was covered with a veil. We became suspicious when she kept calling and sending text messages.”
The woman said she was a Form Four student and had been invited to the church by a male friend.

She said she had only gone to hear the word of God.


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