A Kenyan priest has appealed to Christians around the world to prayfor the people of Garissa, a violence-stricken city in the North EasternProvince of Kenya.
The Revd Canon Francis Omondi’s plea comes after at least fivepeople were killed and four others wounded by Somali Islamist groupal-Shabab who opened fire on guests at one of the city’s local hotels,The Dunes on Jan. 16.
Al-Shabab-a clan-based insurgent and terrorist group-has continuedits violent insurgency in the area with Christians and securitypersonnel being the main targets of the attacks.
Canon Omondi said, “The targeting of Christians and securitypersonnel is a very worrying trend. Christians should pray for couragein the midst of these pressures.”
He has been championing health and education issues in the region formore than 25 years. He has also been helping grow the church of Godwithin the region. However, he has been taken aback by the recentattacks on Christians.
“The Muslim fundamentalists have no respect for denomination,” hesaid. “They aim to rid Christians from here [along with] the securityforces. As a result of this Christians who have not fled live in greatfear”.
Canon Omondi reminded Christians around the world about theirresponsibility during such times of strife and violence. He said:”Christians around the world ought to pray for us urgently! We need Godto change our situation.”
The Canon has refused to leave the region despite the situation being”volatile, tense and very unpredictable.” He said, “I have been in theregion for the last 25 years and my commitment to developing the regionholds me here.”
INTERPOL once described Garissa as “One of the safer areas in thelarger eastern Great Lakes region.” However, this is no longer the caseafter having been a target of many terrorist attacks in recent months.
October saw gunmen kill a police officer and wound another inGarissa. The following month, three Kenyan soldiers and two police werealso shot dead there.