ATTACKS IN GARISSA, MAGNA WORKERS NOT INJURED
MAGNA volunteer during a meeting with patients in northeastern Kenya. Copyright by Martin Bandžák / MAGNA
BRATISLAVA / GARISSA, 2.7. 2012 | On Sunday, two simultaneous attacks took place in the city of Garissa located in northeastern Kenya. Garissa is a base for operations against uprisings from the Islamic group al-Shabaab in neighboring Somalia. Last year, the Kenyan army joined these operations as well.
During the Sunday morning service, seven soldiers threw two grenades at the Christian church and then fired at the people who fled the scene. The attack caused 17 casualties and over 50 heavy injuries. These were the most recent attacks after the rebellion in March and April that led to two casualties. The country suffered other attacks in the last months, mainly in clubs and bus stops in Nairobi or the coastal city Mombasa and other regions at the Somali border. Garissa lies around 140km from the Somali borders and only a few kilometers from the refugee camp Dadaab. Only a few days ago, 4 humanitarian workers had been kidnapped from Dadaab. No further information about the attack was provided, but it is assumed that the main actors were from the Somali-Islamic movement al-Shabaab.
Workers of the humanitarian organization MAGNA Children At Risk, who are working at the mission in Garissa, were not injured. They are restricted to certain areas and are under strict security. The activities of the project are still running as planned, disregarding the attacks.
“The situation has been hazardous for quite some time now. Garissa is a base for the operations of the Kenyan army and is extremely close to the refugee camp of Dadaab. Currently, the situation is under control but throughout the day, it was very unsure how everything would be managed. The hospitals are fully packed, the capacities are poor and this incident did not help the situation,” says Denisa Augustinova, the manager of the operational section of MAGNA Children at Risk.
MAGNA Children at Risk implemented the Garissa project in 2011, reacting at the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa. It is a region where thousands of Somalis seek shelter. The overall aim of the humanitarian help of MAGNA is to decrease the number of children dying of malnutrition. This is achieved by decreasing the occurrence of cases of severe acute malnutrition and complications connected to it, requiring hospitalization. With the help of proactive identification of child patients, MAGNA can increase the number of patients being cured in selected communities and medical centers and therefore help decrease the number of child patients suffering severe acute and moderate acute malnutrition. The project secures therapeutic nutrition, medical supplies and professional intervention for the most threatened pediatric patients of Garissa. MAGNA has one stabilization center in Garissa, which is a medical center with an inpatient part. The center cures malnourished children who are in a state requiring hospitalization. 8 medical centers located close to the Garissa region are also being secured for MAGNA patients. As of right now, 900 patients are being cured from severe malnutrition.
MAGNA operates in Kenya since 2006. In the city of Garissa, since 2011.