It’s no secret that conflicting political and religious views can cause conflict in the best of conditions. It is, then, even less of a secret that these differing views are causing not only controversy in Africa, but in extreme cases, they are even causing death. The past few months in particular have left thousands dead and many more injured in Kenya, and the Kenyan government have blamed these attacks on a Somali Islamist group named al-Shabab.

A number of catastrophes have hit the town of Thika of late, which is just north-east of the Kenyan capital. Two explosions and suspected attacks have taken place in as many days, leaving many innocent bystanders to deal with the consequences of actions they had no part in. The aforementioned explosions took place on passenger buses, killing two people and injuring at least sixty-two others, of which twenty were in a critical condition. It is almost impossible to convey the pain and torment felt by those close to the injured, let alone those close to the deceased. The people affected have feelings and opinions and lives of their own, just like you and I, yet they are being targeted for reasons beyond their control. This is what makes these attacks so appalling; these people should be treated as individuals rather than statistics, especially in as dire a situation as this.

Footage of the explosions, taken by locals, show serious damage caused not only to the buses involved, but also the general surrounding area. One of the buses had a gaping hole through the middle of it, and the other had the windows and doors blown completely off. The destruction caused many innocent people living their day-to-day lives to flee in fear, and some weren’t even this lucky. A supposed third attack, which is suspected as being linked to the first two, involved a hand grenade being thrown into a bus in the coastal city of Mombasa. This attack left four people dead, and another fifteen wounded; a heartbreaking tragedy.

These three attacks, which total six deaths and seventy-seven injuries, are thought to be a retaliation from the al-Shabab group for Kenya’s military involvement in Somalia since 2011. This alone is abysmal; violence is unlikely to solve the clear underlying problems in Kenya, and these outbreaks are not the only ones carried out in the past year. In September 2013, at least sixty-seven people were killed when al-Shabab fighters detained people in a shopping mall in Nairobi for four days, and although Kenya has stated it aims to reduce attacks by militant Islamists, having already arrested 2,000 people in view of this cause, these efforts need to increase in order to stop innocent people from losing their lives. BBC Correspondent Mohamud Ali reports from Nairobi that these three attacks happened ‘within minutes of each other’, and therefore cannot be purely coincidence – the government allegedly plan to find the source of these attacks as soon as possible.

Finally, and most horrifically, in March this year, a Kenyan toddler was rushed to surgery after a bullet became lodged in his brain during a shooting at his local church in Mombasa, Kenya. The Islamist group were said to burst in during a weekly service, and ever since the attack this toddler’s life, as well as his family’s lives, have been driven into turmoil. The tot, named Satrin Osinya, was shot when an unknown gunman allegedly opened fire without cause, and the attack is reportedly linked to previous occurrences. Six people died in this attack alone, including Satrin’s own mother – who was shielding her son during the time of the attack. Another Church raid, having taken place in Likoni, is also alleged to have injured many people.

At present, no group is admitting to have any involvement in the attacks, although the al-Shabab group have been found guilty for similar violent outbreaks in the past. This has led the Kenyan government officials to believe there is a link; especially since the group have carried out several attacks in Kenya since 2011.

Unfortunately, then, only time will tell whether or not the Kenyan government will be able to detect the cause of this unnecessary vehemence. Let’s hope that for the sake of the innocent people living in Kenya that they find out fast, and the guilty party is brought to justice for causing such unnecessary devastation.

References:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-27277811

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-27272072

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-26712771