Gunmen attack Kenya's Mombasa church; 4 killed

By Magdalene Mukami, Sunday, March 23, 2014

Kenya foiled a major terror plot in Mombasa last week, arresting two suspects and seizing an explosives-laden vehicle

Kenya foiled a major terror plot in Mombasa last week, arresting two suspects and seizing an explosives-laden vehicle

MOMBASA, Kenya - At least four people have been confirmed dead and several injured after gunmen attacked the Joy in Jesus Church in the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa on Sunday morning.

"Four people have been confirmed dead," Coast General Hospital Administrator Dr. Benard Mwero told Anadolu Agency.

"We also have many people with gunshot wounds," he added. "Children were also hurt."

Robert Mureithim the head of the Officer Commanding Police Division, said "terrorists" attacked the church service at around 10:30am.

"They entered the church and started firing on people," he told a press briefing.

"According to the information we have, they escaped on foot and they came on foot."

The official said the gunmen had attempted to enter another church but were not successful.

Judith Akinyi Mumia, an eyewitness, said they had just gone to the church and were listening to the sermon at the time of the attack.

"All of a sudden we heard gunshots; we didn't know what was happening," she told reporters at the scene.

"They approached us from the back. I didn't see who was shooting. I saw people lying on the floor," added Mumia.

Asha, the wife of the pastor who was giving the church sermon, still does not know what had happened to him.

"I am not sure if he was being targeted, he was the one preaching during the first service," she said in Kiswahili, a local language.

"I saw two gunmen. I am not sure how my husband is because I haven't seen him."

Michael Oduor, another eyewitness, was outside the church at the time of the attack.

"I was in front of the church so I didn't see them well, but when they entered they just started shooting," he said in Kiswahili.

"They shot at everybody."

The Kenyan authorities announced last week foiling a major terror plot after seizing two suspects driving a car laden with explosives in Mombasa.

Police later discovered six cylinders of powerful explosives, six hand grenades, an AK-47 assault rifle, six detonators and several magazines of ammunition in the vehicle.

The defendants were reportedly planning to plant and detonate explosives in a number of buildings in Mombasa.

Kenya has remained on high alert since militants attacked Nairobi's Westgate Mall last year, killing 67 people.

The attack was later claimed by Somalia's Al-Shabaab militant group has a reprisal for Kenya's military involvement in Somalia.

In 2002, 13 people were killed and 80 injured in a militant attack on an Israeli-owned hotel in Mombasa.

Over the years, the city has also seen frequent grenade attacks by militants on civilian and tourist targets.

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