Nairobi — An Administration Police officer succumbed to injuries following Sunday morning's grenade attack at a church in Garissa. "We have lost an officer who was also the chaplain at the church," a police officer in the region said.
14 other people were still admitted to the Garissa Provincial General hospital. Police said six of them were set to be airlifted to Nairobi for specialised treatment.
Police said the AP officer who succumbed to injuries was the chaplain at the Utawala Inter-denominational Church which was attacked at about 10 am. The attack occurred when people believed to be Al Shabaab militants hurled a grenade at the church through the roof. "Most of those injured are police officers because the church is inside an Administration Police camp," another police officer said.
North Eastern Provincial Police Chief Philip Tuimur confirmed the incident and said a massive security operation was underway in the town. "We have mobilised our officers to track down the attackers," he said.
Police said witnesses had also reported hearing gunshots during the attack. Police believe the attack is the work of Al Shabaab militants or their sympathizers who launched similar attacks in two churches on July 1, killing at least 18 people.
The attacks at the African Inland Church and the Roman Catholic occurred when masked gunmen shot hurled grenades at worshippers. Two police officers deployed to guard the AIC were also gunned down during the attack.
Grenade attacks and other blasts have become common in Garissa and other border towns since Kenya sent its military to fight Al Shabaab militants in the neighbouring Somalia in October last year.