At least 16 killed in Garissa church attacks

July 01, 2012

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Gunmen killed at least 16 people and wounded dozens in twin attacks targeting churches in Garissa on Sunday (July 1st), officials said.

Masked gunmen sprayed bullets and hurled grenades at the African Inland Church (AIC) and the Catholic Central Cathedral, after killing and taking the weapons of two police officers, according to North Eastern Province police chief Leo Nyongesa.

Kenya Red Cross chief Abbas Gullet said at least 40 people were wounded, 10 of them critically. The dead include the two officers, eight women, four men and two children, Kenya's Daily Nation reported.

Police said up to seven men were involved in the attacks.

"We have not arrested any suspects, but we have reports that five suspects were involved in the AIC attack in a combination of grenade and shooting, while two suspects were involved in the Catholic church attack," North Eastern Province deputy police chief Philip Ndolo said.

Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka condemned the attacks. "Places of worship, including churches, temples and mosques, among others, should be respected," Daily Nation quoted him as saying.

It is not yet clear who was behind the attacks, but the government has blamed similar attacks on members of the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab movement, AFP reported.

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