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Church leaders condemn Mpeketoni attacks and demand action

The chairman of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission Zaccheaus Okoth addresses the Press on the killings in Mpeketoni. He is flanked by deputy general secretary Daniel Rono.  [PHOTO: Tabitha Otwori/standard]

Kenya: Catholic leaders have linked the rising insecurity in the country to laxity and corruption among security forces.

The Catholic Peace and Justice Commission (CJPC), the executive arm of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, expressed deep concern over the brutal killings and spiraling attacks.

“While supporting the on-going efforts by the State to combat crime, especially terrorism, it is worth noting that the greatest threat to our security is corruption in the security sector that has made it easy for foreigners to penetrate our boarders,” said CJPC chair Zaccheaus Okoth Tuesday during a Press conference at Waumini House in Nairobi.

The statement from the commission follows the current attacks at Mpeketoni in Lamu County where at least 50 people were killed when suspected Al Shabaab militants from Somalia stormed the coastal town.

The suspected terror group launched a major assault on a police station, hotels, residential areas and government offices.

“During the massacre that lasted five hours which sent shock waves across the country and beyond, where were the security and intelligence? What happened to the various roadblocks? This is just another indicator of the overgrown insecurity which has continuously repeated itself,” said Okoth.

He also noted that the ethnic violence and killings being witnessed in certain areas had political undertones combined with economic drivers of conflict such as inequality, poverty, land rights, unemployment and historical grievances.

Touching on the political standoff between Jubilee and CORD, Okoth said if it is not resolved, it could degenerate towards a dangerous path.

Okoth said the face-off was not healthy for promoting national peace, cohesion and national unity and could lead to a political situation similar to the one after the 2007 General Elections that led to post-election violence.

He said CJPC supports the call for a national dialogue but added that it should be one that will be beneficial for the country.

He said the talks should be first approached by setting up committees balanced from each side of the political divide together with stakeholders to establish the feasibility of the dialogue.

He also expressed condoled with families of those killed in the terror attacks and other incidences of insecurity.

The statement was signed by Okoth, CJPC vice-chairman Cornelius Korir and a member of the commission Martin Kivuva Musonde.

And inter-religious organisations have also called upon President Kenyatta to take decisive action against security chiefs who failed to protect the lives of Kenyans in the Lamu terror attack.

The clerics who were drawn from the mainstream religious organisations condemned the Mpeketoni and Poromoko terror attacks.

Led by the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) General Secretary Peter Karanja, the clerics questioned the manner in which the National Intelligence Service was failing to detect terror attacks in the country.

The Chairman of the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (Supkem) Adan Wachu, while addressing journalists at Panafric Hotel in Nairobi, said the killings should not be blamed on a certain religion.

The religious organisations represented at the Press conference include Supkem, NCCK, National Muslims Leaders Forum, Hindu Council of Kenya and Seventh Day Adventist church, among other.

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