Baby shot in church attack awaits surgery

2014-03-26 14:42

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Nairobi - A Kenyan infant boy shot in the head by gunmen who attacked a church on Sunday has been flown to the capital Nairobi to await surgery, doctors said on Wednesday.

The fate of one-and-a-half-year-old Satrin Osinya, whose mother died trying to protect him when the attackers sprayed the church service with bullets, has gripped the east African nation.

Photographs of the infant, carried in the arms of his father, is on the front page of all national newspapers.

"A prayer for baby Satrin," The Standard newspaper's headline reads.

Doctors will likely wait for two weeks until swelling in the brain reduces to allow the tricky surgery to go ahead.

"There is no operation which is without risks," said Gichuru Mwangi, head of neurosurgery in Nairobi's Kenyatta National Hospital.

Six died in the attack, in the Likoni district near the port city of Mombasa, which came amid heightened warnings of a threat of Islamist violence in Kenya and despite boosted security in major cities.

"The only sin my wife committed was to go to church," the child's father Benson Osinya told The Standard newspaper.

Fresh offensive

No group has claimed responsibility, but Kenya has been hit by a series of attacks since sending troops into southern Somalia in October 2011 to battle al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab insurgents.

Kenyan troops, which have since joined the African Union force in Somalia, are taking part in a fresh offensive launched this month against Shabaab bases.

The attack on the church came six months after Shabaab commandos carried out the September massacre in Nairobi's Westgate mall in which at least 67 people were killed.

Several senior Muslim leaders have been gunned down on the coast, with their supporters accusing the police of state-sponsored assassinations - claims the security forces deny.

Kenya's interior ministry on Tuesday ordered all refugees to return to designated camps and beefed up police numbers in the capital and Mombasa.

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