Kenyan Catholic leaders alarmed at increase in terror attacks
Catholic leaders in Kenya are sounding an alarm after a terror attack killed three Americans and forced local people to flee.
The clerics feared the attack in Manda Bay in Lamu County – which occurred amid increasing tension in the Middle East – could be an act of revenge linked to the recent killing of the top Iranian military leader. It could also be retaliation for US airstrikes targeting al-Shabab fighters after a truck bomb in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, killed at least 79 people.
“We are condemning the attack, which has disrupted peace and tranquility in the region,” Fr Wilybard Lagho, vicar general of the Mombasa Archdiocese, told Catholic News Service. “I think the war on terror is redefining itself in the global scale. We are likely to see dormant terror cells reawakening.”
On 5th January, al-Shabab, the Somalia-based al-Qaida affiliate in East Africa, raided a military base in Manda Bay, killing one US service member and two Department of Defense contractors. Two other Americans were injured, said the US Africa Command.
US forces use the military base to provide training and offer counterterrorism support to East African countries.
Kenyans reportedly fled the area in large numbers, fearing further attacks. In the past, al-Shabab has targeted churches, Christians, public places and government installations.
On 2nd January, militants struck a bus convoy, killing at least three people.
Fr Nicholas Mutua, justice and peace co-ordinator in the Garissa Diocese, which covers some parts Lamu County, said the Church is extremely worried about its clergy in the area.
“They are hitting soft targets (which includes the churches). I think this is about revenge. It’s a time bomb, and the government must act fast to ensure the people are safe,” said Fr Mutua, adding that Church officials were constantly monitoring the developments.
Picture: Smoke rises from a military base in Lamu County, Kenya, on 5th January 2020, after the Somali extremist group al-Shabab said it attacked the base. One American service member and two US defence contractors were killed. (CNS photo/Xinhua News Agency, Latin America News Agency via Reuters).Tags: Africa, airstrikes, al-Qaida, Al-Shabab, Americans, attacks, East Africa, Fr Mutua, Fr Nicholas Mutua, Fr Wilybard Lagho, Iranian, Kenya, Kenyan, Lamu County, Manda Bay, Middle East, Mogadishu, Mombasa, Somalia, terror, terror attacks, US