Two pastors set on fire in Kenya

By May 16, 2012

Kenya (MNN) — Last Tuesday, May 8, two pastors were burned to death in Jomvu area Mombasa, Kenya.

Yesterday, police arrested five suspects who may have instigated the attack, says Open Doors, USA. Otieno Awour, the Officer Commanding Police Division, Changamwe Division Mombasa said the five suspects will be arraigned in court once the investigations are complete.

It's the most recent in a bout of increased violence in Kenya, a nation filled halfway with Christians. In this case, the two pastors, Benjamin Juma of Nyali Baptist Church and Jackson Kioko of Melchidizek Church, were planning to hold an evangelistic outreach in the Jomvu area of Mombasa City. While planning, a crowd gathered and suddenly accused them of being thieves.

Without waiting for any sort of confirmation of the supposed crimes, the two pastors were set on fire and charred to death.

Pastor Juma's friend received a phone call about the incident. The friend didn't know whether the call was serious or a disturbing joke, but when he called around, he could not get a hold of Juma. It was too late for the pastors by the time their family and friends got wind of what was happening.

New widow Mrs. Juma tried to describe the traumatizing scene: "I don't know what they used, whether it was petrol or whatever else it might have been, but (after the fire) you could not see a thing (body parts) — there were just charcoal-like bits (left)!"

An angry congregant, Ms. Emma Mbura demanded: "When the crowd accosted and accused them of being thieves, what were they supposed to have stolen? We want to know!"

Initial reports indicated that there seems to be more to the heartbreaking incident than just a case of tragic mistaken identity, though. Open Doors will provide more information as this story unfolds.

Nearly 50% of Kenya's population is made up of evangelical believers, and over 82% of the nation at least adheres to some form of Christianity, according to the Joshua Project. But recently, Kenya's Christians have been under serious attacks including bombings. Pray for the church to remain bold and unwavering despite this perhaps unexpected bout of persecution.

Pray also for peace for the pastors' widows and churches, all of whom remain distraught by this tragedy.

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