Kisii villagers reel in shock as arsonists torch churches

Wednesday, January 27th, 2021 00:00 |
Stellah Makambe, a trader at Menyinkwa market in Kisii county at her burnt shop yesterday. Arsonists torched five shops in the market. The traders lost properties worth millions of shillings. Photo/PD/ROBERT OCHORO

Residents in Otamba sub-location, Kisii Central sub county Kisii county are reeling in shock after unknown people torched five churches in the area and left a trail of destruction.

 On Saturday night, arsonists broke into Otamba Pentecostal church and torched it barely a week after unknown arsonists torched four churches including Nyang’eni Seventh Day Adventist Church, St. Monica Otamba Catholic Church, Worldwide Gospel church and Legio Maria church.

 Otamba Pentecostal church elder, Eric Ratemo said the arsonists entered the church through a window and set it ablaze. They did not steal anything, he told journalists yesterday.

 He said a resident raised alarm at around on Sunday after he heard an explosion and when they rushed to the church, they found it ablaze.

 “This is the fifth incident. It appears that the attackers are targeting churches.

We pray for them to reform and turn to God to save them,” Ratemo told People Daily.

 The elder said the church’s 250 faithful were forced to hold a church service under the scorching sun on Sunday following the torching of their church.

Kisii County Police Commander, Jebel Munene said security officers are pursuing crucial leads to arrest suspects in connection with the torching of the churches.

 Speaking to People Daily yesterday on phone after a stakeholders meeting at Otamba shopping centre, Munene said security has been beefed up in the area to curb insecurity.

He appealed to members of the public to volunteer information leading to the arrest of the culprits, saying the information will be treated with confidence.

 “We have intensified security in Otamba location where churches were burnt. Our officers are patrolling the area day and night and will not rest until suspects are nabbed to face the law,” Munene said.

 The Commander said the security team held a meeting with church leaders whose churches were torched, chiefs, residents and members of community policing who pledged to work with police officers to fight the vice.

 Munene said the wave arson attacks on churches and markets was unacceptable, warning that those found culpable will face the full force of the law.  

In all the incidents, the arsonists did not steal anything.

 Kisii University Chaplain, Father Lawrence Nyaanga condemned the incident and appealed to security officers to arrest and prosecute the culprits, saying their actions were devilish.

 The priest, attached to the Kisii Catholic diocese said never before have churches been burnt in the area in quick succession, warning that the perpetrators could be abusing drugs, or were possessed with demons and needed prayers.

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