Two pastors were among the wounded from the explosion at an evangelistic service of Earthquake Miracle Ministry Church in Mrima village, near the coastal town of Likoni, Mombasa District, said David Njoroge, pastor of the Worldwide Gospel Church. Both legs of Assistant Pastor Collins Maseno were broken in the blast and he was in critical condition, and Senior Pastor Dominic Osano sustained serious injuries to his hand and the back of his neck, Njoroge told Morning Star News.
"The Christians living around the scene of the incident are still in shock and are wondering as to the mission behind the attack, while several pastors looked demoralized," Njoroge said. "But others said prayers will help them stand strong in sharing the Christian faith."
The blast occurred at 7 p.m., he said, adding that the weapon appeared to be a home-made fuel bomb, though area press quoted police as saying it was a hand grenade. A 10-year-old boy, Dominic Maseno, was reportedly among the injured.
Islamic extremists from Somalia's rebel Al Shabaab group have been suspected in previous attacks in the coastal areas of Kenya, and today 45 pastors met with government officials to discuss security. The provincial police commissioner, the officer in charge of police, the district commissioner and a county commissioner attended.
The officials accepted the pastors' request that the government provide security during such Christian gatherings, Njoroge said. At the same time, the parties agreed that Christian meetings are to end before 6 p.m., he said, and the commissioner told the pastors that they are to keep watch for extremists and report suspected militia groups.
Mombasa police said they were searching for the assailants.
In Nairobi today, suspected Al Shabaab members reportedly tossed a grenade into a crowd in the Majengo area of the capital's largely Somali-immigrant area of Eastleigh, injuring four.
Kenyan churches and other facilities have been the target of several bombings and shootings since Kenya sent troops into southern Somalia in October 2011 in response to kidnappings and other attacks by Al Shabaab rebels from Somalia. African Union Mission in Somalia forces have been battling the insurgents in Somalia, and northern and coastal areas of Kenya have become places of refuge for retreating rebels.
Many Al Shabaab rebels, said to have ties with Al Qaeda, have taken refuge in Garissa in northern Kenya. Chaplain Julius Mukonzi was killed and 11 others were injured on Nov. 4 when suspected Islamic extremists tossed an explosive device at a church in the Administrative Police compound in Garissa.
At the same time, a separatist group known as the Mombasa Republic Council has also been accused of mounting attacks in Kenya's coastal regions, according to Agence France-Presse.
On Sept. 30, 2012, suspected Al Shabaab militants threw a grenade into an Anglican church in Nairobi that killed 9-year-old Ian John Maina. Several other children attending a Sunday school class were seriously injured in the attack on the Anglican Church of Kenya St. Polycarp in the Pagani area, next to Eastleigh.
Al Shabaab, which has been designated a terrorist organization by several Western governments, seeks to impose a strict version of sharia (Islamic law) on Somalia.
Kenya is nearly 83 percent Christian and 8.32 percent Muslim, according to Operation World.