Kenyan Church leaders have called for pastors to have the right to carry firearms to defend themselves against “religious opponents”, in a further sign of increasing tensions in the wake of attacks by Islamist extremists.
George Karidhimba Muriki, assistant pastor of Maximum Revival Ministries Church, was shot by gunmen believed to be part of the extremist group Al-Shabab in Mombasa last week. The group is growing in strength and has been responsible for massacres including the killing of 36 quarry workers in December, an incident which led to the resignation of the head of police and the replacement of Kenya’s interior minister.
Bishop Lambert Mbela of the Redeemed Gospel Church, Bishop MacDonald Kitwa of Good News Evangelical Centre, and Jeremiah Goodison met with Mombasa deputy county commissioner Salim Mahmoud to ask permission to carry weapons.
Alice Wahome, a member of the Administration and National Security Committee in Kenya’s National Assembly, rejected the request, saying it would increase lawlessness in the country. She said the government needs to improve security in general and increase firearms for police officers instead of arming individuals.
Mbela has campaigned previously on the issue following the murders of two pastors in 2013. Charles Mathole and Ibrahim Kithaka were killed in separate incidents. Mbela argued that church leaders should be trained on how to handle guns, saying: “We can provide security in our churches if we are given arms.”
Source: Christian Today
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