Panic at church in Mombasa over ‘terror’ leaflets seeking to recruit members

Leaflets suspected to have been distributed by terrorist and separatist groups were dropped outside a church in Likoni estate on Sunday seeking to recruit members.

Police said there was anxiety at the Salvation Army Church in Majengo Mapya when worshipers encountered Kiswahili literature asking them to join Al Shabaab, Mombasa Republican Council and a criminal gang christened “Wakali Wao”.

Service disrupted  

The service was disrupted for several hours when the two leaflets and a jerrican containing ‘petrol’ was left outside the church.

Other churches within the area were also affected after word went round that a ‘petrol bomb’ had been found at the Salvation Army Church.

In 2014, five people were killed after gunmen stormed Joy in Jesus Church in Likoni while a service was ongoing.

Yesterday, Likoni police boss Willy Simba confirmed the leaflets were distributed but dismissed the contents of the jerrican as petrol saying “it had water but was smelling like petrol”.

“On Sunday morning, we had received a call from members of the church who had panicked after they found two leaflets and a jerrican containing water outside the church. The contents of the leaflets had ordered the congregants to join Al Shabaab, MRC and a criminal gang named Wakali Wao,” said Mr Simba.

However, Simba dismissed the incident saying it was not linked to terror but could have been stage-managed by a group involved in internal wrangles within the church leadership.

Simba also noted that prior to that incident, the church had received anonymous letters protesting the new leadership after an election that  conducted last week. The letters also citing mismanagement and poor leadership.

Several letters

“I understand that elections were conducted last week and a senior pastor was ousted from the church leadership. He dismissed the elections and immediately begun to write several letters to the church claiming poor leadership and that is why he is our first suspect,” said Simba.

He said they have not deployed police officers to the church but had been conducting normal patrols.