By Martin Mutua
Vatican Spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi described the incidents as “horrible and deeply worrying”.
Fr Lombardi told Vatican Radio: “Violence against innocent people gathered peacefully in prayer is unspeakably vile.” The clergyman also called for solidarity with the victims of these and other attacks.
“Beyond our closeness to the victims it is necessary to reaffirm and steadfastly to defend the religious liberty of Christians and to oppose irresponsible acts that feed hatred among different religions,” he added. Fr Lombardi also called for renewed efforts to bring a lasting solution to the difficulties in Somalia, which are having regional repercussions.
And the head of the Catholic Church in Kenya, John Cardinal Njue asked the Government to guarantee security to all.
“We ask the security agencies to deeply interrogate the country’s situation, evaluate past decisions, carry out thorough investigations and chart a way forward that ensures the security of all Kenyans,” he said in a statement, Monday.
In a statement on behalf of the 27 Catholic bishops, Njue, who chairs the Kenya Episcopal Conference, called on Kenyans to remain vigilant.
“We remind them that fighting terrorism, extremism and insecurity is not just for the security agencies, but the duty of every Kenyan because terrorists and criminals operate amongst us,” said the statement.
The church also sent condolences to the families and friends of those affected by the grenade and gun attacks, which left 17 worshippers at an African Inland Church and a Catholic cathedral in Garissa town dead.
“While reaffirming our belief that this is not a religious war, we are disturbed that the attacks were carried out in Christian churches. As Kenya Episcopal Conference we ask all Kenyans to work towards promoting peaceful coexistence,” added the primate.
The Cardinal also assured Bishop Silas Yego of AIC and Garissa Catholic Bishop Paul Darmanin of the church’s support during these difficult moments following the attack.