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At least 10 people have been killed and 40 wounded in attacks on churches in the Kenyan town of Garissa near Somalia, police say.

Regional deputy police chief Philip Ndolo said balaclava-clad “goons” attacked the town’s Catholic church and the African Inland Church (AIC).

A combination of grenades and gunfire was used, police said.

Kenya’s border region has been tense since it sent troops into Somalia to pursue al-Shabab Islamic militants.

Kenya said the operations, launched last October, were designed to bring an end to kidnappings on Kenyan soil and other violence which it blamed on al-Shabab.

But since then, al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for a string of grenade and bomb blasts across Kenya, many deadly. No claim of responsibility has yet been made for these latest attacks.

‘Terrible scene’

Sunday’s attacks took place during morning sermons at the churches in the garrison town, reports said.

Mr Ndolo said all 10 victims died at the AIC, while three people were injured in the apparently co-ordinated attack at the Catholic church.

He said five AIC attackers used a combination of grenades and gunfire – telling AP news agency that grenades were thrown into the church, then gunmen opened fire as the congregation stampeded out of the church.

Witnesses told AFP news agency that bodies lay scattered in the blood-spattered churches as scores of wounded were rushed to hospital.

“It is a terrible scene, you can see bodies lying in the churches,” regional police chief Leo Nyongesa told the agency, adding the attackers had wrestled guns off police who had been posted outside churches following previous attacks.

Mr Ndolo said no arrests had been made.

“We condemn this act in the strongest terms possible,” he said.

Garissa is the capital of North Eastern province, about 140km (90 miles) from the Somali border.

It is close to the Dadaab refugee camp, where gunmen kidnapped four aid workers and killed a driver on Friday in an attack Mr Ndolo said he suspected al-Shabab sympathisers of carrying out.

BBC

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