Keeping the faith in Kenya
Salvation Army responds to riots and terror attacks.
A Muslim group set fire to the Mombasa Central Corps in Kenya on Oct. 4 during riots over the murder of Islamic cleric Ibrahim Omar. Rioters blamed the murder on Kenyan security forces.
“For a second time now the Mombasa Central Corps has suffered innocently by experiencing an attack from angered Muslim youth, as a result of avenging the killing of their Sheikh by unknown people,” said Captain Moses Njagi, assistant project officer for the Kenya East Territory.
According to Njagi, young Muslims set fire to the church by burning tires, resulting in more than $50,000 of corps property damages.
Last year, the corps suffered a similar attack during riots over the assassination of cleric Aboud Rogo.
“We have no answer to why they targeted our church or why they target Christian churches…last year three churches were affected,” Njagi said.
Kenya has been no stranger to tragedy lately, as The Salvation Army responded to the massacre and hostage crisis at the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, which began on Sept. 21 when terrorists attacked mall patrons with guns and grenades, killing 72 people and leaving approximately 200 wounded. The siege lasted three days.
“This tragedy has been too painful to [us] in Kenya,” Commissioner Vinece Chigariro, territorial commander for the Kenya East Territory, said of the massacre. “We will continue to pray for those who have lost loved ones and those affected.”
Kenya East Territorial Projects Officer Richard Bradbury said The Salvation Army immediately adopted an emergency plan with four leaders who organized teams, supplies and equipment. Employees and volunteers served refreshments and passed out blankets to military and police officials involved in the rescue, while also teaming up with the Red Cross.
General André Cox called for Salvationists to pray for peace in Kenya.
“Together let’s pray for peace and for the victims who are recovering and the families who are mourning the loss of loved ones,” he said. “Please pray for grace and calm and for the security officials working in tremendously difficult circumstances.”