The Star (Nairobi)

22 April 2013

Kenya: Garissa Churches Empty for Fear of Terror Attacks

As Christians around the country thronged churches on their day of worship, many faithful in Garissa town chose to stay away from churches for fear of insecurity.

A spot check by the Star revealed that the attendance at most of the churches in Garissa was below half the capacity as many Christians chose to attend services via their television sets at home for fear of reprisal attacks from assailants who have in the past attacked churches in the town.

The churches also had a heavy presence of armed security personnel and many conducted their services behind locked gates. Speaking to the press yesterday, Rev George Owino the curator in charge of the Garissa ACK church said that the frequent attacks on people of non-Somali origin in the area had planted fear in the hearts of many who used to church services in the town.

This comes a day after the national security committee led by the Inspector General David Kimaiyo visited the town on the orders of President Uhuru Kenyatta and assured residents that they would get to the root cause of the frequent attacks.

He called on the security agencies in the country to walk the talk and ensure the frequent attacks in the town became a thing of the past. Many of those who chose to attend today church services said they did so in order to pray to God to bring sanity in the town.

Mzee Joe Kahengeru said that most of those he usually came to church with had chose to remain at home over concerns for their safety. His sentiments were echoed by Allan Wanjau a youth leader at the ACK church who said he chose to attend the services because he was trusting God to see them through the service safely. A faithful Lucy Wangare called on those who stayed at home to join the rest cme next Sunday fir the services in order to encourage one another.

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