News / Africa

Kenyan PM Condemns Church Attacks

Kenyan security forces secure the African Inland Church after an attack in Kenya's northern town of Garissa, July 1, 2012.
Kenyan security forces secure the African Inland Church after an attack in Kenya's northern town of Garissa, July 1, 2012.
VOA News
Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga has condemned Sunday's deadly attacks on two churches in the eastern town of Garissa.

Odinga visited Garissa Monday along with Kenyan Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and other officials.

Speaking to reporters, he said the attacks were designed to spark conflict between Muslims and Christians.

"Churches are being attacked and the inference here is that Muslims are attacking so that Christians can begin to fight Muslims," he said. "We are more intelligent than that.  This is not a religious matter, this is a group of terrorists who are resorting to these kind of desperate measures because of the progress being made by our troops in Somalia."

Kenya sent troops into Somalia last October to fight militant group al-Shabab, which Kenyan officials accuse of carrying out bombings and kidnappings on Kenyan territory.

There has been no claim of responsibility for Sunday's church attacks, in which gunmen threw grenades and opened fire on worshippers.  A total of 17 people were killed and 40 others wounded.

In a statement Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the attacks reprehensible and criminal.

Muslim clergymen in Garissa have condemned the attack as well.  After meeting with the prime minister Monday, local Muslim leader Sheikh Abdisalam Sheikh Mohamed told VOA that, "terrorists are attempting to stir up chaos and hostility among people who co-habit peacefully."

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