Nairobi (Agenzia Fides) - "At least 9 dead and, according to news still not confirmed, some women and children were abducted last night in the assault perpetrated by a group of men in the village of Majembeni on the coast of Kenya, near the island of Lamu". This was reported to Fides Agency by His Exc. Mgr. Emanuel Barbara, Bishop of Malindi and Apostolic Administrator of Mombasa, who states: "The news of the kidnapping of some people is to be confirmed."
"The affected area is located a few miles from Mpeketoni, the town attacked on June 15" (see Fides 16/06/2014) adds Mgr. Barbara, according to whom the assailants came from the forest.
The Bishop of Malindi claims to be very concerned because "the inhabitants of Mpeketoni have placed roadblocks to prevent the passage to the inhabitants of Lamu, because they consider them accomplices of those who attacked their city. The population of Lamu is composed of Bajuni, a mixed population of Arabs and Africans along the coast. Let us remember that in 2007-2008 political violence caused thousands of deaths. My fear is that these attacks could stoke ethnic hatred even in other parts of Kenya".
The Somali Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack against Majembeni and Mpeketoni. "The claim of the Shabaab introduces a new element", notes Mgr. Barbara. "They justify the attacks not only by for the presence of Kenyan troops in Somalia, but also to avenge the imams who were killed recently in Kenya. It is a claim already advanced by the Kenyan radical Islamists".
"Several radical imams were killed in mysterious circumstances on the Kenyan coast. According to public opinion, these murders have been commissioned either by the government or by local merchants, who see these preachers a threat to tourism and therefore their business", explains the Bishop. "It should be added that even some moderate imams were killed by radical Islamists. The last only 15 days ago (we are talking about Sheikh Mohamed Idris, President of the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya, ed.)".
"The situation is so complex and it takes very little to create disorder and destruction. We continue to pray because the conversion of the heart is not easy", concluded Mgr. Barbara. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 17/06/2014)