Massacred – the Attack on Kenya’s Campus
Last Thursday, April 2, four gunmen from al-Shabaab (an al-Qaida-aligned group) stormed the campus of Garissa University College in Garissa, Kenya, killing 148 students. According to survivors, the gunmen questioned victims about their religion, released Muslim students, and shot the Christians. A group of Christian students who were conducting a prayer meeting at the time of the attack were also killed. Several Christian students were taken hostage, and their whereabouts and physical condition are unknown.
Since the attack, people at the scene have complained that police did not respond to the university’s call for help for nearly seven hours. Once specialized police forces finally arrived, the siege ended in only 30 minutes.
This week the Kenyan air force bombed and destroyed two al-Shabaab camps in Somalia in response to the massacre. However, al-Shabaab issued a statement of resistance, saying, “No amount of precaution or safety measures will be able to guarantee your safety, thwart another attack, or prevent another bloodbath.”
“As these militant terrorists seem to be accelerating their attacks, we are deeply concerned for the nearly 1.3 million AG believers worshipping in more than 3,500 churches in Kenya,” says AGWM Executive Director Greg Mundis. “They need the earnest prayers of U.S. churches on their behalf, both for their safety and for the peace of God as they continue to serve Christ under these critical conditions.”
The gruesome action in Garissa was the most deadly attack in Kenya since al-Qaida bombed the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi in 1998, injuring thousands and killing 200. In the last two years, terrorist groups have killed more than 400 people on Kenyan soil.
“The churches of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship stand in prayer with our brothers and sisters in Kenya in the wake of this recent massacre,” states U.S. AG General Superintendent George O. Wood. “As persecution continues in many places, we must increasingly lift up our spiritual brothers and sisters. When one member of the body of Christ suffers, we all suffer. Let us join our hearts in fervent and faithful prayer.”
Steve Pennington, AGWM area director for East Africa, was able to communicate with two Kenya AG ministers serving near Garissa. Both they and their families are safe, and to their knowledge no AG students were among those killed in the attack. However, both report that tensions are running high.
“As militants accelerate their attacks against Christians in Kenya, our AG believers are at greater risk than ever before,” says AGWM Africa Regional Director Greg Beggs. “Please pray that our churches, pastors and regional leaders will be kept safe and become messengers of peace during this crisis.”