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Monday, November 19, 2012

Kenya: Ongoing Tension As Soldiers’ Deaths Follow Nairobi Explosion

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

NAIROBI, KENYA (ANS) -- Army units have been mobilized to track down the killers of three soldiers who were shot dead today in Garissa in north eastern Kenya. There are reports of excessive tactics being used against unarmed civilians.

A bus bombing on Sunday killed seven and wounded many more
(Photo: AFP, Tony Karumba)

According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), the soldiers, who were in plain clothes, were fixing a flat tire when they were shot. Their deaths come a day after seven people were killed and 33 injured on Sunday, November 18, 2012, in an explosion near St Teresa Church in the Somali-dominated Nairobi suburb of Eastleigh that severely damaged a 25-seater minibus, just as members of the congregation were leaving the Sunday service.

The injured were taken to Kenyatta National Hospital where 28 are reportedly in a critical condition, while five are said to be stable.

CSW added that eyewitnesses to the Eastleigh blast described watching a man jump from the minibus moments prior to the explosion, who attempted to enter a car that was following the bus, fell and was apprehended by a crowd as the car sped away. However, in a comment to local press, Nairobi provincial police officer Moses Ombati said: “We are not sure whether he is the person behind the attacks or it is a case of mistaken identity, but we are seriously investigating the incident.”

A woman escapes from tear gas thrown by the police during skirmishes on Monday in the Eastleigh neighborhood of Kenya's capital, Nairobi
(Photo: Reuters)

The explosion and shootings are the latest in a series of grenade and gun attacks targeting churches, police and other public areas. Two weeks ago a grenade was thrown into a Garissa Church, killing the pastor and injuring thirteen. In Eastleigh on 30 September, a grenade thrown into the children’ church service of St Polycarp Church claimed the lives of one child and three others.

“Attacks appear to be on the increase since the Kenyan army entered Somalia following a series of kidnappings of aid workers and foreign tourists, and assisted in ousting al Shabaab from its strongholds there,” said a spokesperson for CSW.

Sunday’s attack in Eastleigh, which is often referred to as “little Mogadishu” due to its’ significant Somali population, occasioned retaliatory attacks against members of the Somali community and their homes and businesses, leading to the deployment of the General Service Unit (GSU), a paramilitary wing of the Kenya Police, to restore order. However, ethno-religious fighting between youths is said to have continued today, with scores reported injured by noon.

Members of al Shabaab

CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said: “We send our heartfelt condolences to the families of those killed in Sunday’s attack, and to the families of the three soldiers. The seeming increase in attacks by suspected members of al Shabaab or its sympathizers is deeply worrying. However, while anger and revulsion at such appalling events is understandable, retaliation is never the answer.

“It is vital that the government makes, and is seen to be making, every effort to effectively but sensitively address the security vacuum that has been highlighted by this worrying new development. This would contribute greatly towards restoring confidence in the forces of law and order and forestalling further outbreaks of retributive violence.”

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is a Christian organization working for religious freedom through advocacy and human rights, in the pursuit of justice.

For further information or to arrange interviews please contact Kiri Kankhwende, Press Officer at Christian Solidarity Worldwide on +44 (0)20 8329 0045 / +44 (0) 78 2332 9663, e-mail kiri@csw.org.uk or visit www.csw.org.uk.


Dan Wooding, 71, who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, is an award winning British journalist now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for 49 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS) and he hosts the weekly “Front Page Radio” show on the KWVE Radio Network in Southern California and which is also carried throughout the United States and around the world. Besides this, Wooding is a host for His Channel Live, which is carried via the Internet to some 192 countries. Dan recently received two top media awards -- the “Passion for the Persecuted” award from Open Doors US, and as one of the top “Newsmakers of 2011” from Plain Truth magazine. He is the author of some 45 books, the latest of which is “Caped Crusader: Rick Wakeman in the 1970s.” To order a copy, go to: Caped Crusader - Amazon

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