By BosNewsLife Africa Service
NAIROBI/ABUJA (BosNewsLife)– A grenade attack by suspected Islamist militants rocked an Anglican church in Kenya’s capital Nairobi killing a nine-year-old boy and injuring several others, the church and police said Sunday, September 30.
The blast occurred during a Sunday school service for young children at the Anglican Saint Polycarp Church, which lies in the Pangani district on the outskirts of Nairobi. .
Police chief Moses Ombati said he believes the attack was tied to sympathizers of al-Shabab militants in neighboring Somalia.
On Friday, September 28, Kenyan forces battling al-Shabab in Somalia pushed into Port Kismayo, forcing the Islamist militants to retreat from the largest remaining stronghold.
“One child has died and three others have been seriously injured,” Nairobi police chief Nyakwama said about Sunday’s blast, but the church claimed at least nine were injured.
MORE CHURCH ATTACKS
Reporters saw blood-stained children’s jackets and shoes scattered on the floor, surrounded by remnants of metal walls.
Kenya has seen a series of similar attacks on churches since it sent troops into Somalia last year.
In July, gunmen reportedly threw grenades and opened fire inside two churches in the eastern town of Garissa, killing 17 people.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga suggested the attacks were meant to spark tensions between Muslims and Christians, the Voice of America (VOA) network reported.
He stressed that the violence stemmed from terrorism, not religious conflict.
CHRISTIANS ON EDGE
Al-Shabab militants have killed several Christians in both Kenya and Somalia as part of their attempts to establish a Shariah, or Muslim-law, based state.
Elsewhere in Africa, Christians also remain on edge, including in Nigeria, where last Sunday, September 23, two people died and dozens were injured in a massive suicide attack on St. John’s Catholic Church in Bauchi city.
That attack was blamed on Boko Haram, or ‘Western Education is a Sin’, which also wants to establish a Shariah-
state and demands the release of fellow militants from prison.
There was some hope that Sunday, September 30, would remain more peaceful in Nigeria with no attacks reported so far, said BosNewsLife’s Paul Jongas reporting from that country’s capital Abuja.