Kirinyaga: Panic gripped worshippers at Kutus Catholic Church after an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was found hidden under a chair.
The deadly device was discovered by a worshipper, Richard Kanyuira, during the 7am mass. It had a live wire connected to a battery and was blinking red.
“The first morning mass was in the middle when I was attracted to a blinking object which was properly wrapped in a polythene paper and I alerted a police officer whom I recognised among the worshippers,” the witness said.
The officer, who was in civilian attire, had also come for the morning mass. He asked Mr Kanyuira to remain calm and rushed to the nearby Kutus Police Post to alert his colleagues.
Meanwhile, more than 200 worshippers continued with the mass unaware of the ticking danger.
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Outside the church, more than 500 worshippers were lining, waiting patiently for their turn enter the church, also unaware of the bomb that experts say had the capacity to rip off the entire church building and destroy anything within 100m radius.
The officer returned immediately and, with his colleagues, safely evacuated all the worshippers.
The mass was later conducted at a church hall within the compound. The bomb was detonated by bomb experts from Nyeri.
Kirinyaga County Police Commander David Bunei, who led a contingent of officers, ensured the compound was cleared before the bomb was detonated.
“Since the bomb could have caused massive devastation, my officers carried out an evacuation of the worshippers and their vehicles before the bomb was destroyed,” Bunei said.
By Sunday evening, it had not been established who planted the bomb.
Kirinyaga Governor Joseph Ndathi and Kirinyaga Central MP Gacoki Gitari condemned those behind planting the bomb. He thanked the hawk-eyed worshipper who spotted the device.
“As a security measure I call upon all church and mosque leaders in this county to ensure their facilities are placed under a 24-hour vigil and also to thoroughly check on all those entering such compounds,” Mr Ndathi said.