16 Killed in Attacks on Kenya Churches

Posted July 1st, 2012 at 8:35 am (UTC-5)
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Kenya police say gunmen attacked two churches in the eastern town of Garissa on Sunday, killing 16 and wounding at least 40.

Authorities say in both cases the attackers hurled grenades and opened fire on worshippers.

The deadliest attack took place at the African Inland Church, where at least 10 people were killed, including two police officers. The second attack took place at a Catholic church.

Police did not immediately say who was behind the violence. They have blamed similar attacks on sympathizers of the Somalia-based militant group al-Shabab.

Garissa is located about 140 kilometers west of the Somalia border. It is also about 80 kilometers southwest of the sprawling Dadaab refugee camp, which houses nearly 500,000 Somali refugees.

On Friday, several gunmen at the Dadaab camp killed one Kenyan and kidnapped four foreign aid workers.

Kenyan sent troops into Somalia last year to pursue al-Shabab militants. Since then, Kenya has blamed the al-Qaida-allied group for a series of attacks and kidnappings on Kenyan soil.

Al-Shabab says it is trying to overthrow U.N.-backed transitional government and impose a strict form of Sharia law throughout Somalia.