Prayers for victims of Kenya and Pakistan attack

Published 24 September 2013  |  
(AP)
Stephen, centre, who lost his father in Saturday's attack at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, is comforted by relatives as he waits for the post mortem exam at the city morgue Monday, Sept. 23, 2013.

The Church of Scotland has said it is praying for everyone caught up in the Pakistan and Kenya attacks.

It confirmed that one of its ministers in Scotland had lost his mother and other relatives in the Pakistan attack.

The Very Reverend Andrew McLellan, Convener of the World Mission Council of the Church of Scotland, said both incidents had been a "shock".

The deadly siege at the Westgate shopping complex in Nairobi has killed at least 62 people and injured more than 170. At least three Britons are among the dead.

Somalian Islamist group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attack as retaliation for Kenyan military operations in Somalia, the BBC reports.

Kenyan forces were able to regain control of the mall following an assault on Monday to flush out the militants. It is believed that there are no more hostages in the building.

Victims include notable Ghanaian poet Kofi Awoonor, who was in Nairobi for a literary festival.

St Peter's Church, Mowbray, Cape Town, also confirmed that its warden, 57-year-old James Thomas, was among the dead.

The Church of Scotland World Mission Council has sent a message of support to its partner church, the Presbyterian Church of East Africa, and its partner organisation, PROCMURA (the Programme for Christian Muslim Relations in Africa).

"We hold them and all people involved in any way are in our thoughts and prayers at this time," the Church said in a statement.

In Pakistan, at least 80 people were killed when two suicide bombers blew themselves up outside All Saints' Church in Peshawar as worshippers were leaving Sunday Mass.

Burials of the dead were taking place on Monday as protests were held across the country by people angry over the state's failure to protect religious minorities in the largely Muslim country.

(AP)
Pakistani Christians chant slogans during a protest to condemn a suicide bombing on a church, in Peshawar, Pakistan, the deadliest attack ever in the country against members of the Christian faith.

The government condemned the attack and declared three days of mourning.

Two Taliban-linked groups, Jandullah and the Junood ul-Hifsa, have claimed responsibility for the attack, believed to be the deadliest against the country's minority Christian community.

The groups say they ordered the attack in retaliation for US drone strikes on Pakistan.

"We are deeply saddened by the news from Pakistan of the bomb attack on All Saints Church in Peshawar which has claimed so many lives," the Church said.

"We are in contact with our partner, the Diocese of Peshwar and our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been affected.

"This is a tragedy which has affected not only those in Pakistan but Pakistani people here in Scotland."

The Church of Scotland confirmed that one of its ministers, the Reverend Aftab Gohar, has tragically lost his mother, a niece and a nephew in the attack and has flown to Pakistan to be with his family.

Reverend McLellan added: "News of both these incidents has been a shock, we assure our partners and the people of both Pakistan and Kenya of our prayers and support in these difficult times.

"This is not about religion, but about people who are seeking to do wrong. We ask for your prayers for peace in the days that lie ahead."

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