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ICC Note: The death count in a violent attack on a church in Kenya has now risen to six. There were at least 21 injured when gunmen opened fire in the Joy Jesus church in the city of Likoni, Kenya. Included among those killed is an Assistant Pastor Philip Masela Ambesta. There still has been no claim of responsibility for the attack.
03/24/2014 Kenya (World Watch Monitor) – At least six people have died since masked gunmen stormed a church on Sunday in Kenya’s second city Mombasa, injuring about 21 others.
The armed men, believed to be three or four in number, struck the Joy Jesus Pentecostal Church in the Sinai area in Likoni, on the mainland just south of the island heart of the city during the morning service, killing the church’s Assistant Pastor Philip Masela Ambesta. Two of the attackers had forced their way into the church through a backdoor, after killing a 60 year old watchman.
“It is painful that someone can walk into church and spray bullets, killing people including children. This is totally unacceptable and the Muslim community have to do something to bring it into an end,” Bishop Benson Muthama of Pentecostal Church Act on Mombasa Island told World Watch Monitor in an interview the morning after the attack.
The Catholic Bishop of Malindi and Apostolic Administrator of Mombasa, away at the time, confirmed this to the Fides news agency: “According to what I was told, a gunman came shooting out of the back door of the church, while the other two accomplices were at the main door to prevent the faithful from escaping. Four people died on the spot and 21 were injured.”
Recently churches in the city have come under increased threats and attacks from suspected Islamists, according to church leaders.
From these trends, according to Benson Muthama, the radical Islamists seem to be sending a signal that they would no longer tolerate Christians on the island.
Only last week, Mombasa police arrested two people driving a car with two hidden improvised bombs, after a tip-off. The target has not yet been identified, but the incident led to a continuing heightened state of alert.
The two faith groups had co-existed peacefully for years, until Kenya sent troops to Somalia in pursuit of Al-Shabaab Islamic militants who have control of much of Kenya’s eastern neighbour, leaving it as a ‘failed state’. When Kenya sent in its army, in October 2011, it accused the Somali militants of attacking, killing and abducting its citizens and foreign aid workers. There were also high-profile cases involving snatching tourists from Kenyan resorts which damaged Kenya’s international profile and economy. As reported by a US private intelligence agency in May 2012, Al-Shabaab leaders immediately warned that blood will flow in Kenyan cities and towns, Nairobi’s skyscrapers would come down and Kenyan “fragile” citizens would “mourn in pain”.

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