News / Africa

    Attack at Kenyan Church Causes Casualties

    A woman injured in a grenade attack at the Utawala Inter-denominational church is helped into ambulance in Garissa, northern Kenya, November 4, 2012.
    A woman injured in a grenade attack at the Utawala Inter-denominational church is helped into ambulance in Garissa, northern Kenya, November 4, 2012.
    Kenya's Red Cross says a grenade attack at a church inside a police camp has killed one person and wounded 13 others.  Police say militants with suspected links to the Somali group al-Shabab may be responsible for the attack. 

    Officials in the eastern town of Garissa say the grenade was tossed into the Administration Police compound and landed inside the church.

    Kenya Red Cross communication manager Nelly Muluka said one person has died and the others are receiving treatment for their wounds.

    “I can comfortably say that the casualties were 14, up to now we have lost one of the casualties," said Muluka.  "So the rest are being treated at the Garissa district hospital.  We are transporting two to Nairobi urgently, we are air-lifting them, actually they were supposed to come three of them but we have already lost one of the patients.”

    The pastor of the church is reported to be among the victims, along with several police officers.

    Sporadic gunfire was heard after the blast.  A Garissa resident, who lives 300 meters from the police post, said police fired in the air after people started rushing to the scene of the attack.

    Although there has been no claim of responsibility, police have blamed previous attacks on sympathizers of the Somalia-based Islamist militant group al-Shabab.

    Last July, gunmen attacked two other churches in Garissa, killing 17 people and wounding 40.  The attackers threw grenades and opened fire on worshippers.

    Al-Shabab militants are struggling to hold on to the few remaining areas they control in Somalia, where Somali and African Union forces are battling their efforts to set up a conservative Islamic state.

    Al-Shabab has threatened revenge attacks in Kenya, whose soldiers took part in the operations in neighboring Somalia.

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