NAIROBI, Kenya (CNS) — Kenya’s Catholic bishops called upon the government to intensify its security efforts in the country’s north after the July 1 attacks on two churches, including a Catholic cathedral, that left at least 17 people dead and more than 50 people injured.
The simultaneous attacks on Our Lady of Consolation Cathedral and the Protestant Africa Inland Church in the northern town of Garissa were the most recent in a series of incidents since Kenyan troops were sent into Somalia in October to crush al-Shabaab militants.
“These unjustifiable acts of violence being continuously meted out on Kenyans, including women and children, have not only resulted in the loss of innocent lives but also created a sense of insecurity among Christians and all peace loving Kenyans,” the bishops said in a statement July 2.
The bishops said they continued to believe the attacks were not part of a religious war even though they were carried out on Christian faith communities.
“We ask all Kenyans to work towards promoting peaceful coexistence,” the bishops said.
Witnesses said masked gunmen attacked the churches with gunfire while lobbing hand grenades as worshippers prayed during morning services.
In their statement, signed by Cardinal John Njue, chairman of the Kenya Episcopal Conference, the bishops urged the government to thoroughly investigate the attacks, assess the “country’s security situation” and chart a way forward that ensures the safety of all Kenyans.
“We call on all Kenyans to remain vigilant and cooperate with the security agencies and other authorities to ensure their security is guaranteed. We remind them that fighting terrorism, extremism and insecurity is not just for the security agencies but the duty of each and every Kenyan because terrorists and criminals operate amongst us,” the statement added.
The bishops also offered their sympathy to the families and friends who lost loved ones in the attack and offered prayers for the injured.
“To Bishop Silas Yego of the African Inland Church and Bishop Paul Darmanin, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Garissa, we send our condolences and assure them of our closeness to them during these difficult moments,” the bishops said.
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103