A 9-year-old boy was killed and several others were hurt in a grenade attack on a children's Sunday school class in Kenya's capital Nairobi on Sunday morning. Two of the injured are said to be critical.
The children were attending a Sunday school class at 10:30 a.m. when a hand grenade thrown into the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) St. Polycarp church in the Pagani area in Nairobi exploded, Morning Star News, a newly opened U.S.-based news agency focusing on Christian persecution, reported, quoting a source who visited the site.
Pagani is next to Nairobi's largely Somali-immigrant area of Eastleigh.
Four injured children were admitted to Kenyatta National Hospital, according to CNN. Two of them were critically wounded. Another three people had been released from the hospital. The children were between the ages of 7 and 10.
The child who died had not been identified by local media or authorities.
The attack reportedly involved two explosions. "I just heard two loud explosions and then everything went quiet before screams erupted," Faid Kassim, who resides in an estate near the church, stated, according to local media.
While no one had claimed responsibility, it is suspected that the attack could be an act of retaliation by sympathizers of al-Shabaab in neighboring Somalia, where Kenyan forces are involved in fighting the Islamist militant group.
Al-Shabaab, whose real name is Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen (Mujahideen Youth Movement), is an al-Qaida-linked terror group that controls and runs a de facto "government" in most of southern Somalia.
"Two years ago, Furthering Gospel Fellowship near a garage in Eastleigh that was used by Ethiopians, Eritreans and even Somali Christians was demolished by Muslims using a bulldozer," Morning Star News quoted the leader of an underground church in Eastleigh as saying. "The churches in Eastleigh and the underground fellowship feel threatened. We need prayers, because our lives are at risk."
Meanwhile, the Kenya Defence Forces tweeted on Sunday, saying their personnel and Somali troops had taken control of police headquarters, a radio station and a seaport of the port city of Kismayo in Somalia.
The al-Shabaab splintered from a now defunct group of Sharia courts, the Islamic Courts Union. It is seeking to overthrow the Transitional Federal Government, created in 2004 and supported by the African Union, the United Nations and the United States. Since the outbreak of the 1991 civil war which overthrew President Siad Barre's regime, most parts of Somalia have had no formal government. The transitional government controls only a small part of the country.