18 June 2014
Kenyan bishops call for security rethink
The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops has urged the Government to re-think its security after terrorists killed more than 60 people and destroyed houses and in the coastal town of Mpeketoni near Lamu Island. Police said more than 20 buildings were torched.
The attack last Sunday is the worst in the country since September 2013, when Somali Islamists attacked the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, leaving at least 67 dead.
Although al-Qaida-linked al-Shabaab terrorists claimed responsibility for the latest attack, President Uhuru Kenyatta said this was not theirs, but one carried out by a gang funded by certain politicians.
Archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth of Kisumu, the chairman of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, said: “The national Government ought to re-organise and re-orient national intelligence to focus more on collecting criminal intelligence as opposed to political intelligence.” Archbishop Okoth expressed the Church’s sympathies to the affected families in the area settled by many Catholics.
Although non-Muslims were reportedly singled out to be killed, Catherine Ogolla, who manages aid programmes in Kenya for the Catholic charity Cafod, urged faith communities not to turn against each other.
"We must remember that what the terrorists want most of all is to cause permanent divisions between different religious communities. That is why all people of God must stand together for peace and unity, sending the message out that the extremists will not succeed,” she said.
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