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Two killed in Kenya church attack blamed on political rivalry


Two people were killed and at least seven others injured when a gang attacked worshippers on Sunday at a church in Kisii Diocese in western Kenya.

The dead were part of a hundred man raid on Bogiakumu Catholic Church of Nyabururu Parish.

Speaking to the Catholic Information Service Africa (CISA) yesterday, the priest in charge of Nyabururu, Fr Lawrence Nyaanga, said: "Two people were killed, and four are still in hospital. Three others have been treated and discharged."

Kenyan Police Spokesman Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police Peter Kimanthi told CISA that the force "had launched investigations, and that anyone found responsible would be prosecuted."

The priest said he saw a political angle to the violence, as Kenyans expect general elections later this year. He said he could associate the raid with a fundraising ceremony at the same church early this month. On 1 September, "one of the parishioners there, who is also a local councillor affiliated to the Ford-People political party, presided over a function to raise funds for an HIV/AIDS cause."

According to Fr Nyaanga, Sunday's incident could have been an action orchestrated by a rival party. "The attackers were led by a Mr Onuong'a Nyatangi, a staunch supporter of KANU (the ruling party, Kenya African National Union)." Mr Nyatangi was himself killed as he tried to block the besieged worshippers from escaping through the main entrance. The late Nyatangi had expressed his interest in a civic post under his party's sponsorship, Fr Nyaanga said.

He said that at least 250 worshippers at Bogiakumu were in the middle of the Service of the Word conducted by Catechist Thomas Momanyi when the raiders struck, chanting: "We're going to burn Ford People. We're going to burn Ford People."

Fr Nyaanga said that windows were broken, and pews damaged. An amplifier and other equipment was destroyed. The raiders attempted to burn the church. The faithful used furniture to fight off the attackers, some of whom were amongst them at the service.

SOURCE
Independent Catholic News



17 Sep 2002