By Adow Jubat and Boniface Ongeri
Bibles, women handbags, umbrella and even journalists notebooks had to undergo security checks at most churches in North Eastern as the Government promised to protect the faithful.
Muslim religious leaders also patrolled with the police officers and some could be spotted at the entrance of the churches. Supkem Garissa branch Chairman Abdullain Salat said the move was in solidarity with their Christian brothers.
“We are saddened by this terrorist activities targeting places of worship and we have united that anything that will befall our Christian brothers will also affect us,” he said.
Stephen Makau, 23, who lost a relative in the last Sunday AIC church attack, stood a few metres from the entrance for long, not sure if to enter. But his faith and hope finally the better of him as he strode in to join hundreds of worshippers who defied terror attacks scare in show of solidarity.
“My love for God can’t be compromised by an act of terrorism, but what I saw was too much for me. When I saw church building I feel scared,” says a faithful Mercy Mugo.
time to heal
On the dark Sunday, she watched as three of her colleagues, who she calls spiritual friends, died.
On Sunday, there was heavy presence of the police officers on foot and in five trucks. Pastor Joseph Mutunga Kaleli, who spoke to The Standard conceded that his flock was scared by the senseless attack that claimed fifteen lives and over forty other hospitalized.
“The church used to be overwhelmed with faithful and in many occasions worshippers were forced to seat outside to follow the mass, but today you can see it is not full,” he said pointing to rows of unoccupied benches.
Venerable Rueben Njue who is in charge of Anglican Church of Kenya in North Eastern Province said the attacks had spread fear among the faithful.
“It would take time to heal. We are happy with the security arrangement. Nevertheless, we would want the Government to be proactive and prevent such incidents,” he said.