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Feature: Four years on, Kenyan church attack victims calling for gov't aid

04 July 2016, 19:29

Garissa (Xinhua) -- A somber mood engulfed the African Inland Church in Kenya's Garissa town as worshipers gathered on Sunday to mark the fourth anniversary after the 2012 terror attack that claimed 17 people.

While marking the anniversary, hundreds of worshippers from different denominations -- Muslims and Christians -- urged the government to step up efforts to enhance security in the region which borders Somalia.

Together the worshipers danced, prayed and consoled each other following the heinous attack, which also left several people with life threatening and permanent injuries.

Gunmen believed to be members of Al-Shabaab stormed the African Inland Church on July 1, 2012, killing 15 worshipers and two security officers.

Speaking to journalists after attending the service, Garissa County Commissioner James Kianda said that the church attack had only acted to unify Muslims and Christians.

Kianda said that the security that has been witnessed in the last one year was as a result of good cooperation between different stakeholders.

"These terrorists do not discriminate when attacking; they do so in churches, buses, social gatherings, restaurants, police and military convoys. We are working round the clock to make sure that we don't witness such attacks in our county again," he said.

While lauding the government for improving security and giving them moral support, Pastor Eliud Mule, a victim in the attack, urged the state to do more for the victims who are still undergoing treatment in hospitals.

He said majority of them were still struggling with offsetting their medical bills, saying that frequent attendance to the hospitals had drained them economically.

Mule said the church, which was recovering from the attack, was made worse by the Garissa University attack that claimed 148 lives in April 2015, adding that the worshipers have reduced.

Daniel Mugo, who was one of those who escaped the attack but with serious injuries, came from Kitui in eastern Kenya to join his colleagues in commemorating the day.

He still has grenade pellets that are just near the heart.

"I saw it fit to join my fellow worshipers in remembering out lost brother and sisters. It was a dark day that I will personally never forget for as long as I am alive," Mugo said.

"The incident completely changed my life upside down. I cannot do much nowadays because I am now weak thanks to some foreign object that is still in my body," he told journalists in Garissa.

"I have become a frequent visitor at the Kijabe Hospital. This has drained me economically and I can no longer bare it anymore. I am appealing to the government to come to my assistance," said Mugo.

He said that the doctors said that the shrapnel cannot be removed because he might loose his life if they go ahead and remove them.

For Gladys Benjamin, another victim who was also present, the grenade pellets completely destroyed her left leg, something that forced the doctors to amputate the leg.

"All we are asking the government for is assistance. We sometimes think like the government completely forgot about us. We would appreciate assistance of any kind. But for now it has not been forthcoming," she said.

- Xinhua


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