The leader of a regional association of eastern African bishops is assuring solidarity with the people of Kenya, in the wke of the shooting at a mall in Nairobi last Saturday.
AMECEA [Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa] Secretary-General Fr. Ferdinand Lugonzo on behalf of AMECEA Chairman His Grace Tarcisius Ziyaye, Archbishop of Lilongwe, sends messages of solidarity to Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishop and the people of Kenya, especially the victims of the unfortunate terrorist attack at the Westgate Mall.
In a letter addressed to the Chairman of KCCB His Eminence John Cardinal Njue, Fr. Ferdinand said that it was with great shock and sadness that the Secretariat received the sad news of the terrorist attack on Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi. He added that from the time the attack occurred and throughout the period that the rescue operations have been going on, the secretariat has received a number of messages of solidarity from its Member Episcopal Conferences. They are all praying for the people of Kenya.
Fr. Ferdinand said that “We join the Church in Kenya in condemning this act of terrorism and commend the Government of Kenya in its commitment to relentlessly work towards building a peaceful society and ensure the security of all its citizens.”
On Saturday, 21 September, 2013, at around midday, more than 10 gunmen stormed and took siege of the Westgate Mall in Westlands, Nairobi. The gang opened fire killing innocent men, women and children of all nationalities and ages.
Heavy gunfire and explosives were heard at the mall throughout Saturday. Since then, the attackers are feared to have killed at least 69 people, with 175 injured. Although the Kenya Defense Force (KDF) has gained access to the mall, it is unknown how many victims are being held hostage and to this date, the attackers are still held up within the mall. It is however estimated that up to a thousand people who had been hiding in the mall have so far been rescued.
Three KDF soldiers involved in Westgate Mall rescue operations succumbed to their injuries; a total of 11 soldiers sustained injuries and were admitted at the Defense Forces Memorial Hospital.