Police arrest 59 over Likoni church attack

Monday March 24 2014

Likoni MP Masoud Mwahima together with women representative Mishi Mboko addressing journalists at Joy in Jesus Church that was attacked on sunday killing five worshippers in this picture taken on 24 March 2014.They condemned the attack and called on serious security surveillance. Fifty nine suspects have been arrested in connection with the Sunday attack on a church in Likoni in which five worshippers were gunned down during a service. PHOTO/Laban Walloga

Likoni MP Masoud Mwahima together with women representative Mishi Mboko addressing journalists at Joy in Jesus Church that was attacked on sunday killing five worshippers in this picture taken on 24 March 2014.They condemned the attack and called on serious security surveillance. Fifty nine suspects have been arrested in connection with the Sunday attack on a church in Likoni in which five worshippers were gunned down during a service. PHOTO/Laban Walloga 

By WINNIE ATIENO
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By WACHIRA MWANGI
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Fifty nine suspects have been arrested in connection with the Sunday attack on a church in Likoni in which five worshippers were gunned down during a service.

Police yesterday said they were confident that they would arrest those behind the attack by last evening.

“They are Kenyans but we are sorting out their details to eliminate the innocent ones and remain with the suspects,” said Mr Samuel Arachi, the deputy inspector general in charge of Administration Police.

A security operation to flush out more suspects was ongoing yesterday and Mr Arachi said it was too early to determine that the attack was an act of terrorism.

And even as they gave the assurance, the Kenya Ferry Services announced that it had taken new measures to keep ferry safe from terrorist attacks.

Deputy Inspector General of Police Grace Kaindi asked the public to help the police with information that could lead to the dismantling of terrorist cells at the Coast.

“We must cooperate with the community and eliminate these cells,” she said. “These cells are populated by people from within and you know them.”

The top police officers who visited the scene of Sunday’s attack at Joy in Jesus Church were put to the task by residents who demanded to know why churches at the Coast were being targeted for armed attacks.

“Why do we have some churches with police officers while others lack? Is there selection in securing places of worship?” asked Mr Malata Benson.

In defence, Mr Arachi said there was no discrimination in the deployment of security officers. He said that it was not practical to place a policeman in every corner.

NATIONAL DISASTER

“That is why the government has introduced the community policing and Nyumba Kumi initiative so that they work with mwananchi.”

Meanwhile, a Human rights group in Mombasa has asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to declare insecurity at the Coast a national disaster.

While condemning the Sunday attack at the Joy of Jesus Church in Likoni, Muslims for Human Rights (Muhuri) executive director Mwambi Mwasaru accused police of laxity in taming crime.

“The deaths of the innocent worshippers who were fired at by unknown assailants could have been avoided had the security incidents in the south Coast area been taken seriously by the security organs,” said Mr Mwasaru.

He said that all places of worship were sacred and there was no justification of any sort for anyone to attack worshippers.

Meanwhile, Double Joy Centre Bishop Alfred Obuya asked the government to offer security at churches. “We used to have security officers manning churches but they pulled out with time; I am not aware why they stopped,” he said.

Joy of Jesus Church Pastor William Omondi, whose church is affiliated to Double Joy Centre, on Monday said he had not arrived at the church when the three attackers struck, spraying worshippers with bullets in the incident that left four people dead and 21 injured.

“We are leaving everything to God as we show our concern to those who were injured. We are leaving the police to carry out the investigations,” he said.

STEPS TAKEN TO BOOS SECURITY

Crackdown: At least 59 suspects have been arrested as police step up hunt for three men who attacked Likoni church.

Ferry: Anti-terrorism police and plain clothes officers have been stationed at the Likoni channel to check vehicles and other ferry users.

Courts: Judge allows police to continue holding two men who were arrested when their vehicle was found with explosives.