A Kenyan bishop has reported an attack on the coastal village of Majembeni on Sunday, which took the lives of at least nine people.
In a report to Fides News Agency, Bishop Emanuel Barbara of Malindi, apostolic administrator of Mombasa, said there are also reports of abductions of women and children, but added that this news still needs to be confirmed.
The bishop said the attack took place near the island of Lamu, a few miles from Mpeketoni. He says he is 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,” Bishop Barbara added, noting that political violence in 2007-2008 led to the deaths of thousands. “My fear is that these attacks could stoke ethnic hatred even in other parts of Kenya.”
The Somali Shabaab have claimed responsibility for the attacks against Majembeni and Mpeketoni.
“The claim of the Shabaab introduces a new element,” the bishop said. “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,” the bishop said. “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.”
“It should be added that even some moderate imams were killed by radical Islamists. The last only 15 days ago.”
Bishop Barbara concluded: “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.”