Bomb found in Kianyaga church shortly before mass

A suspected explosive device planted at the entrance of Kianyaga Catholic Church, in Kirinyaga County which forced the faithful to have their mass in the open on Sunday. PHOTO: MUNENE KAMAU/STANDARD

KENYA: Panic gripped Kianyaga Catholic Church after an explosive device was discovered hidden near one of the doors.

The bomb was discovered by Simon Kamanja, an usher, at about 6.30am as he made early morning rounds in the church.

It is a routine for the ushers from the church to do checks before opening the doors to the faithful.

Mr Kamanja, who entered the church through the minor door, said he heard a ticking sound from his metal detector on reaching the main door.

“At first I thought it was the keys which were in the pocket that made the detector to flicker. But I asked myself how this could happen with my trouser pockets above the knees while the detector was below that level,” he said.

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Kamanja said he switched on the lights as it was still dark inside and saw two red wires hooked to the bomb.

He quickly informed the priest via his phone who in turn alerted the security agents from the nearby Kianyaga Police Station.

Worshippers declined suggestions that mass be conducted in one of the church halls, fearing a possible attack by those who planted the bomb.

 NIGHT GUARD

As the mass was being conducted in the open ground, the Kirinyaga County security team arrived and took charge of the area.

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The mass conducted by local priest, Father Simon Kanji, lasted about one hour.

John Mundia, a night guard who was on duty until 5.45am yesterday, expressed shock after he was recalled from home after the device was discovered.

Mundia said he had just settled to have his breakfast when Fr Kanji summoned him to the church.

“As far as I can remember, I did not see anyone by the time I left the compound though there is one door which is normally left open for the usher on duty,” he said.

Gichugu MP Njogu Barua, who also worships at the church, said that those behind the incident were out to create fear and panic among the faithful.

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‘’I do not comprehend how an outsider could have accessed the inner door into the church,’’ he said.

County Commissioner Erastus Ekidor urged locals to help law enforcing arrest those behind the crime.

Yesterday’s incident was the fifth in the county this year.

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