AFRICA/KENYA - "The two assaults committed by Kenyans and foreigners, not by Shabaab", says the Bishop of Malindi

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Nairobi (Agenzia Fides) - "There is still a lot of fear, even if one notices the presence of the military and police officers sent by the government to secure the area", says to Fides Agency His Exc. Mgr. Emanuel Barbara, Bishop of Malindi and Apostolic Administrator of Mombasa, who is on a visit to Mpeketoni, the town attacked by an armed group on 15 June (see Fides 16/06/2014). In the assault at least 50 people lost their lives. Another attack hit a nearby village the following evening (see Fides 17/06/2014).
"From what I have seen I can say that there is an Islamic matrix to these assaults but it also clear that ethic groups are the main targets", said Mgr. Barbara. "This is because the assailants killed people based on their ethnicity and religion. According to the testimony collected on the spot, some of the assailants have been recognized as Bajuni, a mixed population of Arabs and Africans, who live on the Kenyan coast. Among them there was also a Kenyan born in another part of the Country and at least one Arab. We therefore believe that assailants belong to an armed group formed specifically for this attack and composed of Kenyan and foreign elements".
"At this point we strongly doubt that it is has anything to do with Somali Shabaab elements", said the Bishop. "Their modus operandi is similar to that of other armed groups who have acted in the recent past in Kenya. For example, women and children were spared, and only men were killed.
These is because in the local culture if the father dies, the family is weakened and is often forced to flee. This is reminiscent of what happened with the Kenyan tribal guerrillas".
Fifty people have been missing in Mpeketoni since the night of the attack. "However it is thought that they have taken refuge in the bush, while in the village attacked the following day there are at least 10 people who have not been found", adds Mgr. Bishop who is worried about the spread of feelings of hatred and fear.
"We hope that politicians will take their responsibility to ensure the safety of all and appease the spirits", concluded the Bishop. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 18/06/2014)