Kenya: Church bombed. Tanzania: Pastors targeted

June 23, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-world

At least 15 people were injured in a bomb attack on a church in Kenya, while the homes of two pastors were targeted in neighbouring Tanzania, as anti-Christian violence increases in East Africa.

Christians at worship in TanzaniaTanzania, June 19, 2013: An explosive device was thrown into a church compound in Mrima village near Likoni at the end of an open-air evangelistic event on 9 June. There were around 50 people present at the time.

The bomb landed next to Pastor Collins Maseno before detonating. Both of his legs were broken in the blast, and he was left in a critical condition. Another church leader, Dominic Osano, was seriously injured, and a ten-year-old boy was also among the wounded.

Detectives investigating the attack suspect that it was carried out by al-Shabaab sympathisers who have recently returned to Kenya from Somalia. Al-Shabaab has been behind a number of attacks in Kenya since the latter sent troops into Somalia in 2011 to fight the Islamist militants.

Churches and Christians have been particularly targeted. Last November, Pastor Julius Mukonzi was killed and around ten people injured in a church bombing in Garissa; a nine-year-old boy died in a grenade attack on a Sunday school class at a church in Nairobi last September.

Following the latest attack, 45 Kenyan pastors met with government officials and obtained an agreement that the state would provide security for Christian gatherings on the condition that these end before 6pm.

Christians are also under increasing attack in Tanzania. On 2 June, a gang of radical Muslims broke into the home of Pastor Robert Ngai in Geita and attacked him with machetes. He suffered serious cuts to his hands and arms as he tried to protect his head from the weapons.

Pastor Ngai was rushed to hospital, where he has been receiving treatment in intensive care.

Two nights before, the home of another pastor in Geita was targeted. Daudi Nzumbi’s dogs frightened off the attackers, and he was not harmed. He reported the incident to the police but the officer said, “I cannot protect every pastor!”

The attacks follow the bombing of a new church in Arusha during its inaugural service last month and the killing of two church leaders in separate incidents in February.

– barnabas team

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