Kenya grenade attacks hit church services

At least 17 people reported killed and 40 injured in Garissa, a military staging point for missions into Somalia.

    At least 17 people were killed on Sunday in attacks on two churches in Garissa, a town in eastern Kenya, police said.

    The attacks in the normally quiet town are the latest in a series of incidents that have rocked Kenya since the government sent troops into southern Somalia last October to hunt down al-Shabab fighters who are said to have links to al-Qaeda.

    Garissa serves as a military base for operations against the hardline Islamist fighters, who are attempting to overthrow the weak federal government in Mogadishu.

    Witnesses said bodies lay scattered in the blood-spattered churches as scores of wounded were rushed to hospital.

    "It is a horrible sight to see," said Hussein Abdi, a resident of Garissa.

    Regional police chief Philip Ndolo said a total of seven attackers hurled grenades inside the Catholic Church and the African Inland Church before opening fire with guns.

    Two police officers were among the dead.

    The assailants struck the churches, which are 3km apart, at around 10:15am.   

    "The goons were clad in balaclavas and hurled the grenades at the Catholic Church and the [African Inland Independent Church] in the town," Ndolo told the Reuters news agency.

    In March and April, Christian worshippers were targeted in grenade blasts that left two people dead.
     
    The Vatican described Sunday's attacks as "horrible and very worrying".

    Garissa is not far from the Dadaab refugee camp, where a Norwegian aid delegation was attacked on Saturday and four of its members taken hostage in their own car, which the kidnappers drove towards the Somali border. 

    SOURCE: Agencies and Al Jazeera


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'Money can't buy us': Mapping Canada's oil pipeline battle

    'Money can't buy us': Mapping Canada's oil pipeline battle

    We travel more than 2,000km and visit communities along the route of the oil pipeline that cuts across Indigenous land.

    Women under ISIL: The wives

    Women under ISIL: The wives

    Women married to ISIL fighters share accounts of being made to watch executions and strap explosives to other women.

    Diplomats for sale: How an ambassadorship was bought and lost

    Diplomats for sale: How an ambassadorship was bought and lost

    The story of Ali Reza Monfared, the Iranian who tried to buy diplomatic immunity after embezzling millions of dollars.