Reporters Without Borders expressed shock and dismay after a brutal raid on a Christian radio station in Nairobi, Radio Hope, left one person dead and three injured overnight on 12 May 2006.
The editorial management of the Pentacostal Church-owned radio blamed the raid on Muslim extremists. It immediately followed a Swahili-language broadcast entitled “Jesus is the way”, advocating conversion of Muslims to Christianity.
Witnesses, cited by Agence France-Presse (AFP) said the attack on Radio Hope was carried out by a gang of about nine. Two of them opened fire on a night guard, killing him instantly and injuring another member of the security staff and a presenter before setting fire to the studios by throwing petrol bombs and taking the station off air.
A passer-by was also injured as the band of attackers fled after the raid.
Reporters Without Borders said it feared the media was suffering from still smouldering inter-community tensions and called on the government to be vigilant.
“The episode of the cartoons of the prophet Mohammed provoked inter-community clashes last February,” it said. “The attack on Radio Hope demonstrates that the tensions are far from calmed down and that the media can be as much the target as the instrument of religious proselytism.”
“We offer our support to the editorial staff of Radio Hope and we urge the Kenyan government to redouble its vigilance in the face of a climate that could turn explosive again at any moment,” the press freedom organisation said.
Police sealed off the neighbourhood around the station in southern Nairobi for the night but so far no-one has been arrested.
Kenya, with a population of around 30 million, is about 70 per cent Christian and six per cent Muslim. In February thousands of Muslims marched in Nairobi in protest at the publication of the Mohammed cartoons in European newspapers, burning Danish and American flags. There were also inter-community clashes in 2001.