Five Churches Torched in Tana River District

Five churches were burnt down in Bura Division of Tana River District.

The churches that were burnt down include Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) in Bura, Pentecostal Evangelism Fellowship of Africa (PEFA), the East African Pentecostal Church (EAPC), Full Gospel Church of Kenya (FGCK) and Bethel Church.

When reached for comment, the new Tana River District Commissioner, Mr Athman Bakari Shauri, confirmed the June 13 incident and said the provincial administration had moved in to quell any further disturbances in the area.

He said a former Christian pastor who had converted to Islam had incensed Christians in the area with his teachings against Christianity.

The DC said that police were alerted about the activities of the said Islamic preacher and fetched him for interrogation.

But during the brief period he was in police custody, his followers are said to have gone on the rampage and torched Christian churches in the area.

And the Kenya Church (Coast Chapter), a conglomeration of Christian churches in the region, has condemned the burning of the churches.

Speaking during a news conference at the Mombasa Beach Hotel yesterday, the Kenya Church chairman, Bishop Abarija Kinoga, said the Government had failed to apprehend those behind the torching of the churches.

He said the church had received reports that the burning occurred after Muslims were angered by the arrest of a cleric.

He said the Kenya Church strongly condemned the burning of the churches and the confiscation of church equipment, furniture and documents by the arsonists.

He said the Muslim cleric was released from police custody at the request of an MP. " As we are talking to you today, the mastermind of the arson attack of the places of worship is walking scot-free," said Bishop Kinoga.

The bishop put the cost of damage at Sh2 .4 million.

Reverend Simon Mgumba of PEFA Church in the district said his congregation was diminishing after the incident adding that majority feared to come to church.