Kenya church attack kills one
4/29/2012 12:00:02 PM -
NAIROBI (AFP) - A grenade set off by a gun-carrying worshipper in a Nairobi church killed one person on Sunday and injured at least 10 others, police and witnesses in the Kenyan capital said.
"We have one fatality, and there are more than 10 others who have been injured," area deputy police Chief Joseph Gichangi said.
"We have been told that the person who threw the grenade was part of the congregation and he fled immediately after throwing it," he added.
The attack targeted the God House of Miracle Church in Nairobi's Ngara neighbourhood, where residents said they tried in vain to detain the alleged assailant amid the chaos that followed the explosion.
"We saw a man running out after the blast and when we chased him he pointed a pistol at us, so we ran back," Kennedy Wasilwa recounted.
Joseph Kimani, who ownes a shop nearby, told AFP he rushed to the church after hearing "a loud blast," and initially thought the church had caught fire.
"Then I found people screaming and some were trying to assist others who had injuries," he said.
"We helped more than 10 people to get vehicles to hospital but one was badly wounded and he is the one who died on his way to the hospital."
The Kenyan capital has been hit by a series of unclaimed attacks since late 2011. The deadliest blast, on March 10, struck a bus terminal, killing nine people and injuring roughly 60 others.
Kenyan police have blamed the strikes on Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab Islamists or their sympathisers, claiming they are a response to the Kenyan army's incursion into Somalia, launched in October.
Nairobi sent troops into neighbouring Somalia following a spate of kidnappings in Kenya, which it blamed on the Islamists.
The operation aimed to curb the Shebab's influence in Somalia, where they control parts of the south and central region in a country that has lacked a stable government for two decades.
Earlier this month, the Shebab threatened retribution and revenge for the continued presence of Kenyan troops on Somali land.
"The Kenyan public must be aware that the more Kenyan troops continue to persecute innocent Muslims of Somalia, the less secure Kenyan cities will be," the Islamists said in a statement. "Such is the law of retributution."
That statement came a day after attacks in the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa and a nearby town killed one and wounded 18 people.
The Shebab did not claim that attack, which also targeted a church gathering as well as a restaurant patronised by non-Muslims in Coast province, which is predominantly Muslim.
The Shebab once controlled vast swathes of Somali territory but have in recent months been chased out of the bulk of their strongholds. .
The Western-backed African Union force in Mogadishu as well as the Kenyan and Ethiopian armies have increased the military pressure against the Islamist rebels on three fronts.