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Published on 08 February, 2013

Gunmen target two church leaders in Kenya’s deadly Garissa region

Kenya (ODM/MNN) — Police in Kenya say gunmen shot two church leaders and wounded several others Thursday in the northeastern Garissa region.

Garissa has long had a perilous reputation in Kenya. A small outpost down near the Somalia border, the area has been filled with dangerous people for over a decade. The latest in a string of attacks, accounts say the gunmen opened fire on a vehicle as it drove in Garissa, not far from the border with war-torn Somalia.

Open Doors contacts report that Pastor Abdi Welli was pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital. Pastor Ibrahim Makunyi, of the East Africa Pentecostal Church, is in stable condition.

Attacks have increased in Kenya since Nairobi sent soldiers into Somalia in late 2011 to fight al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab insurgents who have vowed to take revenge on Kenya. While the violence has been blamed on the insurgents or their Kenyan supporters, the al-Shabaab have not claimed responsibility for any of them.

Al-Shabaab means "The Youth" in Arabic and emerged in 2006 as the radical youth wing of Somalia's previous Union of Islamic Courts. Since Kenyan troops entered Somalia a year ago, al-Shabaab has increased its attacks in Kenya. It seems the terrorists aim their Muslim rage at believers.

Pastor Welli, who was evangelized, discipled, and mentored by Pastor Makunyi, is survived by a widow Hellen and three young sons. Open Doors is monitoring the situation and will provide further updates as soon as more details are available.

According to OD, al-Shabaab influences have triggered instability in Kenya and cast a shadow on the future religious atmosphere in the country. In light of the March 4 elections, along with the Muslim minority's growing influence in the government, the worries are growing.

Islamic family courts based on Sharia Law have been implemented in all counties–even in those with a low Muslim presence. It is feared that at least 10 of the counties with higher Muslim representation may push for the implementation of Sharia Law and may even be harboring ambitions to break away from the rest of the country, which is Christian dominated (83%).

Prayer Points:
• Please pray for the family of Pastor Welli, his widow Hellen and 3 sons as they mourn the loss of their husband and father.
• Pray for quick healing and comfort of Pastor Makunyi as he has lost his spiritual son.
• Pray for comfort and reassurance upon Pastor Makunyi's family as they live and work in Garissa.
• Pray for the congregants of the East Africa Pentecostal Church as Pastor Makunyi recovers.
• Pray for the security situation in Garissa.
• Pray for the believers there as they live in constant danger.

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