Originally published in Spero News
A Kenyan Anglican priest has appealed to Christians around the world to pray for the people of Garissa, a violence-stricken city in the North Eastern Province of Kenya.
The Revd. Canon Francis Omondi’s plea comes after at least five people were killed and four others wounded by Somali Islamist group al-Shabab who opened fire on guests at one of the city’s local hotels, The Dunes on 16 January. Al-Shabab—a clan-based insurgent and terrorist group—has continued its violent insurgency in the area with Christians and security personnel being the main targets of the attacks.
Canon Omondi said, “The targeting of Christians and security personnel is a very worrying trend. Christians should pray for courage in the midst of these pressures.”
He has been championing health and education issues in the region for more than 25 years. He has also been helping grow the church of God within the region. However, he has been taken aback by the recent attacks on Christians.
“The Muslim fundamentalists have no respect for denomination,” he said. “They aim to rid Christians from here [along with] the security forces. As a result of this Christians who have not fled live in great fear”.
Canon Omondi reminded Christians around the world about their responsibility during such times of strife and violence. He said: “Christians around the world ought to pray for us urgently! We need God to change our situation.”
The Canon has refused to leave the region despite the situation being “volatile, tense and very unpredictable.” He said, “I have been in the region for the last 25 years and my commitment to developing the region holds me here.”
Interpol once described Garissa as “One of the safer areas in the larger eastern Great Lakes region.” However, this is no longer the case after having been a target of many terrorist attacks in recent months. October saw gunmen kill a police officer and wound another in Garissa. The following month, three Kenyan soldiers and two police were also shot dead there.