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Al-Shabaab claims responsibility for Garissa attacks
Thursday, July 05, 2012
Somalia militia group Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for Sunday's twin attacks on two churches in Garissa County that left 17 people dead.
The latest development came even as muslim leaders in Kenya agreed to form self-defence groups to protect churches following the deadly attacks.
In a tweet on Wednesday morning, the insurgents said they carried out the attacks in retaliation for Kenya Defence Forces (KDF)'s incursion in Somalia.
An Al-Shabaab loyalist Sheikh Hassan Takar said that the militia killed people who did not profess allegiance to Allah.
"The mujahedeen (holy warriors) punished with their hands those believing and worshipping other than Allah," he said.
"The militants will continue until such practice is eliminated." He added
They urged the Kenyan government to pull its troops out of Somalia, warning that they will target major buildings in Nairobi if they continue fighting the insurgents.
At the same time, Adan Wachu, head of the Supreme Council of Kenyan Muslims, told the BBC the attacks were acts of terrorism.
"There are people out there who are determined to make Kenya another Nigeria," Mr Wachu, who also chairs the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya, told the BBC Network Africa programme.
"It's not going to be allowed to have a sectarian division in this country - whoever wants to do that will of course fail."
Muslim and Christian leaders in the country have moved to reassure Kenyans that the Garissa attacks had nothing to do with religion.
The leaders said that Kenyans have coexisted for long regardless of their religious beliefs.
Meanwhile the government has maintained that it will not withdraw the Kenya Defense Forces from Somalia.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga says doing so would be tantamount to surrendering to terrorists.
Kenya has suffered a spate of gun, grenade and bomb attacks since sending troops into southern Somalia last October to target militants fighting to overthrow the weak UN-backed government in the Horn of Africa state.
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