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Al-Shabaab kill 28 Christians in Kenya bus massacre: Church of England Newspaper, November, 28, 2014 November 28, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Kenya, Church of England Newspaper.
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The Somali Islamist group al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the murder of 28 Christians in Kenya last Saturday, saying the killings were payback for police raids on four mosques in Mombasa.  On the morning of 22 Nov 2014, a bus carrying 60 passengers to Nairobi was ambushed by gunmen approximately 31 miles south of the town of Mandera near Kenya’s border with Somalia. “They asked how many times I pray in a day, asked me to recite a Qur’an verse and also greeted one in Islamic,” a survivor told the Daily Nation. “If one failed to answer these questions, then you’d be asked to lie on a muddy patch of the road facing down.” Christian primary school teacher Douglas Ochwodo survived the attack. He told Reuters two killers went along the line of bodies, beginning at each end moving towards the middle, shooting their prone victims in the head. Ochwodo lay in the center and covered with blood from other victims, was overlooked by the killers. Nineteen men and nine women, identified as Christians, were shot dead. In September 2013 al-Shabaab terrorists assaulted Nairobi’s Westgate Mall, killing 67 people. The Islamist terror group has claimed responsibility for other attacks that have have left 90 dead this year. including the assault on Nairobi’s upscale Westgate Mall in September 2013 in which 67 people were killed. Al-Shabaab said it was responsible for other attacks on Kenya’s coast earlier this year which killed at least 90 people. Earlier this month Kenyan police closed four mosques in Mombasa after police raids discovered weapons and explosives caches in the buildings.Speaking to reporters after services at an Anglican Church outside of Nairobi on Sunday Deputy President William Ruto told reporters on Sunday that security force jets and helicopters had attacked a camp in Somalia linked to the perpetrators of the bus massacre, killing as many as 100 terrorists. “We shall continue to deal with all the terrorists and bandits in the same way because it is the only language they understand,” he said. “If you kill any Kenyan you will also be killed.”

Church calls for prayer and restraint in wake of Nairobi massacre: The Church of England Newspaper, September 27, 2013 p 7. October 15, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Kenya, Church of England Newspaper, Terrorism.
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Kenya’s Christian and Muslim leaders have issued a united statement condemning the terror attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, which has left at least sixty people dead including five Britons and a dozen other ex-pats.

Police report that approximately 15 terrorists of the Somali Islamist group Al-Shabaab attacked the upscale shopping mall in suburban Nairobi on 21 September 2013, spraying shoppers with automatic rifle fire. Some shoppers were taken hostage, eyewitness reported, and were released if they could recite the Shahada, the Islamic basic profession of belief, or if they converted to Islam. Those who could or would not were executed.

The Shabelle Media Network in Mogadishu reports that al-Shabaab has identified the names and nationalities of the killers.  Three are listed as Americans, one Briton and a Finn amongst the Somali and Kenyan terrorists. Those who could or would not were executed.

Kenya’s inter-religious council responded to the attack by saying they would not let the massacre divide the country along sectarian lines, but would stand united against terrorism.

Reading the statement on behalf of the religious leaders, Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims Secretary General Adan Wachu said:m “We, the religious leaders, are engaged in robust dialogue to ensure that these relations are not just maintained but also made stronger. We are convinced beyond doubt that the attempt to sow seeds of discord between Muslims and Christians will fail miserably and that we shall remain united,.”

The Rt. Rev. Joel Waweru, Anglican Bishop of Nairobi urged Christians not to seek revenge. “We are so disheartened with whatever happened, but we would want to call upon our Christian brothers and sisters to keep peace and to maintain peace,” said Waweru.

The religious leaders statement said that one of the motives behind the attack was to destabilize the economy by driving away tourists. On Sunday the general secretary of the Gafcon movement, the Most Rev. Peter Jensen, Archbishop of Sydney released a video saying he was flying to Nairobi this week to review security arrangements for next month’s Gafcon Conference at All Saints Cathedral.

Dr. Jensen said it was his “desire” to “stand with our Kenyan brothers and sisters” in the face of terrorism, but he would nonetheless meet with local organizers to review security details and report back within the week.

Church leaders from around the world have offered their prayers and condolences to the families of the dead and injured and to the people of Kenya. In a note to the Archbishop of Kenya, the Most Rev. Thabo Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town wrote “to express not only that the Anglican Church of Southern Africa stands in solidarity with you at this time, but that we too share in the grief that this senseless attack has brought.”

“As you speak and act in response to these terrible events, may you be a channel of God’s grace:  to comfort the bereaved, bind up the broken hearted, and proclaim the triumph of our Lord Jesus Christ over both evil and death,” Dr. Makgoba said.

Return al Qaeda hate with peace, Nairobi bishop asks Kenyans: Anglican Ink, September 23, 2013 September 23, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Ink, Terrorism.
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Westgate Mall, Nairobi

Religious leaders in Kenya have called upon Christians and Muslims to foreswear revenge in the wake of the attack on the Westgate shopping mall in suburban Nairobi, urging all Kenyans to remain united in the face of terrorism.

On 21 September 2013 upwards of 15 members of the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab attacked shoppers in the upscale mall patronized by the city’s expatriate community and the burgeoning middle classes.  Reports from survivors state the terrorists, including one woman, began to spray shoppers with automatic rifle fire and lobbed grenades into stores and restaurants.

Some patrons of the mall were taken hostage, eyewitnesses reported. Those who were able to recite the Shadada, the Muslim profession of belief, were released. Those who would not convert to Islam were executed.  The Red Cross reports that 69 bodies had been recovered from the Mall, including those of two terrorists. However the interior ministry reports only 59 dead so far, but concedes the death toll will rise.

Read it all at Anglican Ink.

Triumph of the stringer in the Nairobi massacre coverage: Get Religion, September 23, 2013 September 23, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Kenya, Get Religion, Terrorism.
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African reporters are coming into their own with the stories coming out of Kenya this weekend. If you step back from the reports on the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi — now entering its third day as of the writing of this post — and look not at the content of the news, but how it is being presented, you can see examples the changes taking place in journalism. Advances in technology, newspaper and network business models, and the worldviews brought to the reporting by journalists have resulted in different stories today than would have been written 10 years ago.

Religion is part of the story. In the last week Boko Haram has killed over 150 Nigerians, the Taliban has killed 70 plus churchgoers and the Mall death total is expected to rise.  All of the attacks were undertaken by Muslim terrorist groups, and the initial reports suggest they were targeting non-Muslims.

Twitter and the internet have changed the game. The police, the president of Kenya and the terrorists (if the tweets from the Somali Islamist group al-Shabaab which claim responsibility are to be trusted) have taken to Twitter or posted statements on the internet to release information that in the past would have come from press conferences or interviews. This story written by AFP and printed in The Australian as “More hostages freed as explosions rock mall complex” draws on one the scene reporting from local stringers and staff, statements posted on the web, Twitter tweets and press conferences.

The quantity of information has increased, but has the quality? By this I do not mean discrepancies such as the Red Cross reports 69 dead and the police report 59, as noted in this Reuters report. Twitter provides immediacy, but no context. The Shabelle Media Network in Mogadishu reports that al-Shabaab has identified the names and nationalities of the killers.  Three are listed as Americans (two from Minnesota and one from Kansas City), one Briton and one Finn amongst the Somali and Kenyan terrorists.  Major news — “Twin City killers in Nairobi Mall Massacre” — but can we trust it? I have no idea who the Shabelle Media Network is, and their report is drawn from a Twitter post.

There appears to be no way to confirm or verify this information. Are they immigrants, refugees, converts? The appearance of intimacy offered by the immediacy of the internet does not mean what is being said is true. When reporters trekked into the mountains to meet guerrilla groups — think of Mao in Yunnan or Castro in the Sierra Maestra Mountains — the stories they brought home were conditioned by what they were allowed to see and hear. Yet they offered a more complete story — depth, context and analysis. It is too soon in the news cycle from Nairobi to hear these things — but will we ever? Will the next big story (the Pakistani church bombing perhaps) overshadow Nairobi?

In comparing the American to Australian or English press reports, most papers have relied on the wire services, adding local color to the base story. The Australian story adds the name of the Australian national killed in the attack, while the British papers list their countrymen killed. Few newspapers or networks have bureaus in East Africa anymore — and those who do such as the New York Times — do not appear to have an advantage in their reporting over their competitors.

The value added found in these stories comes from local stringers. (I am making an assumption that the on the scene interviews with Kenyans have been conducted by Kenyans.)

This passage from The Australian is compelling.

Mall worker Zipporah Wanjiru, who emerged from the ordeal alive but in a state of shock, said she hid under a table with five other colleagues. “They were shooting indiscriminately, it was like a movie seeing people sprayed with bullets like that,” she said, bursting into tears. “I have never witnessed this in my life.”

Cafe waiter Titus Alede, who risked his life and leapt from the first floor of the mall, said it was a “miracle from God” that he managed to escape the approaching gunmen. “I remember them saying ‘you killed our people in Somalia, it is our time to pay you back’,” he said.

One teenage survivor told how he played dead to avoid being killed. “I heard screams and gunshots all over the place. I got scared… (and) hid behind one of the cars,” 18-year-old Umar Ahmed told AFP.

Two Christians and a Muslim (based upon their names) speak and Africans, based upon my experiences, really do speak this way. But so do Americans. Yet we are not as likely to hear God-talk in reports about natural disasters and traumatic incidents in the American press. Is this a function of the worldview of the African stringers?

The Nairobi story is not done. It will be fascinating to see how the story is told based upon these new variables: Twitter and African reporters telling the story. But I do believe this story signals the end of the good old days of the ex-pat reporter. From what has been published so far, those newspapers that have invested in bureaus in Nairobi have not seen a return on their investment in terms of the quality or quantity of their coverage.

Terror attack on Sunday School: The Church of England Newspaper, October 7, 2012 p 7. October 8, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Kenya, Church of England Newspaper, Terrorism.
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One child has died and nine have been injured in an attack on a Sunday school class at St Cyprian’s Anglican Church in Nairobi.

On 30 Sept 2012 at approximately 10:30 local time, an explosion rocked the Christian education building of the congregation in the city’s Eastleigh District.  Ian Morio (9) was killed in the blast and nine other children were wounded.  Six of the injured are reported to be in critical condition and have been taken to Kenyatta National Hospital.

“Some witnesses are telling us they saw two men of Somali origin running towards the back of the church where explosion occurred,” Nairobi district police commissioner Wilfred Mbithi told reporters. A second report suggests the explosion was caused by a bomb planted in the building before the start of the class.

The bombing of St Cyprian’s is the latest in a series of grenade attacks and drive by shootings blamed on al-Shabaab since Kenya sent troops over the border into neighboring Somalia last year to restore order. Churches, bus stations and other public settings have been targeted in a low level terror campaign conducted by the Muslim terror group – an affiliate of al-Qaeda.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.


Land dispute may be behind Kenyan church bombing: Anglican Ink, October 2, 2012 October 3, 2012

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Bishop Joel Waweru of Nairobi and Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of Kenya visiting one of the victims of the 30 Sept 2012 bombing at St Cyprian’s Church

A property dispute is being investigated as an alternate theory of the crime in last Sunday bombing of St Cyprian’s Anglican Church in Nairobi which left one child dead and six seriously wounded.

While the 30 September 2012 attack on St Cyprian’s has all the hallmarks of an operation by the Somali-based Islamist group al-Shabaab, the question whether the bombing was related to a lawsuit between the church and a property developer pending in the Nairobi courts is also being considered.

Initial witness statements said two men of Somali appearance and dress were seen fleeing the scene after the explosion and were said to have thrown grenades.  However other witness reports said no one was in the alley when the explosion took place.

Nairobi’s police commissioner Njoroge Ndirangu reported that an examination of the crime scene indicated a limpet mine or an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) containing nails, ball-bearings and other pieces of shrapnel was electronically detonated alongside the wall of the Christian education building of St Cyprian’s Anglican Church at approximately 10:30 local time.  Shrapnel from the blast killed an eight year old boy and wounded several children attending a Bible study.  Six children were taken in serious condition to the capital’s Kenyatta National Hospital for treatment.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Terror attack on Sunday School leaves 1 dead, 9 injured: Anglican Ink, September 30, 2012 October 2, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Ink, Terrorism.
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Gunmen belonging to the Somali terrorist group, al-Shabaab, have been blamed for an attack upon a Sunday School at St. Cyprian’s Anglican Church in the Eastleigh District of Nairobi that has left one child dead and nine injured.

“Some witnesses are telling us they saw two men of Somali origin running towards the back of the church where explosion occurred,” Nairobi district police commissioner Wilfred Mbithi told reporters.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Gay marriage a greater moral threat than terrorism, bishop warns: The Church of England Newspaper, August 5, 2012 p 6. August 13, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Kenya, Church of England Newspaper, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue, Terrorism.
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The Anglican Bishop of Mombasa has come under sharp criticism for saying the moral threat to society posed by gay marriage was of greater long term consequence to Kenyans than the threat from terrorism.

On 22 July 2012 Bishop Julius Kalu told worshipers at Mombasa’s Anglican cathedral “our greatest fear as Church should not be the grenade attacks, but the new teachings like same sex marriages.”

Kenya has witnessed an upsurge of sectarian violence in recent months.  In April a grenade attack on a church killed one worshiper and on 1 July gunmen raided two churches killing at least 17 and wounding more than 60 people in Garissa, the capital of Kenya’s Northeast Province along the border with Somalia.  Garissa serves as the Kenyan Army’s base of operations in its campaign against the al Qaeda linked Somali Muslim terrorist group al Shabaab.

Bishop Kalu told the cathedral congregation that churches had seen a fall in attendance since the start of the al Shabaab bombing campaign as people have stayed at home, afraid of the violence.  While not deprecating the threat of terrorist violence, the bishop stated the greater evil was the lies of Satan that would pull people away from the faith – not the attacks of men.

“Christians must be fully armed spiritually as it is only divine intervention that will enable the country overcome these challenges,” the bishop said according to the East African Standard.

“The Church is at war with enemies of the faith,” Bishop Kalu said, citing those who sought to change the doctrine of marriage.

An editorial in the Nairobi Star took the bishop to task for his comments arguing that “these gays are not hurting anyone. They are minding their own business. And what they do behind closed doors with a consenting partner should remain private, just as it should for husband and wife.”

“Terrorism on the other hand is a deadly threat to Kenya,” the Star said as “many Kenyans die each year at the hands of al Shabaab. Tourism at the Coast is depressed because of terrorism. Gays do not hurt Kenya. Terrorists do hurt Kenya. It is extraordinary that Bishop Kalu cannot see this,” it said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.