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Seventh Day Adventist loses half of its members in attack

By David Ochami | November 24th 2014

A church in Mandera lost more than half of its congregation in Saturday’s massacre, sparking fear within the region mainly inhabited by Muslims.

Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Church lost 10 worshippers in the dawn massacre. “We lost 10 members,” said Reverend David Matheka.

He told The Standard that on Saturday morning, there were only five worshippers guarded by four armed policemen. He explained that the service could not proceed when the officers were recalled after reports emerged from the hinterland that a massacre had occurred.

According to the priest, the church has about 15 to 20 regular worshippers, with another estimated 10 who live in the outskirts of the town, thus are not constant congregants.

Residents in the area have been pricked to the quick after militiamen killed 28 non-Muslim passengers during the dawn attack.

Historically, the non-muslim community in parts of Mandera is made of migrant workers, expatriates, aid workers and civil servants, who often complain of religious discrimination. They worship either in warehouses or old buildings, complaining that local authorities cannot allow them to construct new buildings.

Reverend Patrick Ongaya of the Redeemed Gospel Church said a member of his church was killed in the ill-fated bus. He told The Standard that although the faithful attended church yesterday, the number was less.

Other churches in the region include Anglican, Catholic, East Africa Pentecostal and Community Church of Kenya.

Meanwhile, a school lost seven teachers in the tragedy that local teachers’ unions say is a setback to the teaching profession in the impoverished area. Kenya National Union of Teachers Executive Secretary Kullo Sheikh told The Standard on telephone that seven of the dead teachers taught at Al Buhari Primary School.

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