SANTA ANA, Calif. (Feb. 7, 2013) – Open Doors has received information that two church leaders, Pastor Ibrahim Makunyi of the East Africa Pentecostal Church and Pastor Abdi Welli, were attacked this morning by unknown gunmen in the city of Garissa, Kenya. Pastor Welli was pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital while Pastor Makunyi was immediately rushed to a hospital. His condition was described as stable and out of danger. Pastor Welli, who was evangelized, discipled and mentored by Pastor Makunyi, is survived by his wife Hellen and three young sons.
Open Doors is monitoring the situation and will provide further updates as soon as it has more details available.
Garissa is a violence-stricken city in northeastern Kenya. Al-Shabaab, an Islamist terrorist group, has been targeting Christians and Christian churches in the area. Last July terrorists killed 16 during bombings at two churches in Garissa.
Open Doors will be closely watching the build-up and the outcome of the elections in Kenya, set for March 4. This year Kenya made its first appearance as an entire country on Open Doors’ World Watch List (WWL). Previously only the northeastern regions were included on the WWL. However, incidents of violence against Christians and churches and heightened insecurity in various areas in 2012 resulted in the entire country forging into the No. 40 position on the list. Kenya is now labeled as one of the places where Christians experience moderate persecution.
“The attack today is the latest in increasing violence, especially in the Garissa area. It was reported by Open Doors that 22 Christians were killed in incidents last year and over 100 seriously injured or maimed,” says Open Doors USA spokesman Jerry Dykstra. “Please join Open Doors in praying for Kenya as it prepares for elections. Pray that there might not be more violence heading into the March 4 elections.”
Please pray for the family of Pastor Welli, his widow Hellen and three sons as they mourn the loss of their husband and father.
Pray for quick healing and comfort of Pastor Makunyi as he has lost his spiritual son.
Pray for comfort and reassurance for Pastor Makunyi’s family as they live and work in Garissa.
Pray for the congregants of the East Africa Pentecostal Church as Pastor Makunyi recovers.
Pray for the security situation in Garissa.
Pray for the believers there as they live in constant danger.
For almost 60 years Open Doors has worked in the world’s most oppressive and restrictive countries, strengthening Christians to stand strong in the face of persecution and equipping them to shine Christ’s light in these places. Open Doors empowers persecuted Christians by supplying Bibles and Christian literature, training Christian leaders, facilitating social/economic projects and uniting believers in the West in prayer for Christians, who are the most persecuted religious group in the world and are oppressed in at least 60 countries. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535) or go to our website at www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.
(For more information or to set up an interview, contact Open Doors USA Media Relations Director Jerry Dykstra at 616-915-4117 or email [email protected].)