by Staff Writer

It what could be retaliatory attacks, CNN reports that there were explosions at two separate churches in the Kenya, killing 17 and injuring at least 40 people according to the Red Cross.

The East African country has seen a surge of attacks since its incursion into its neighbour Somalia, last year in order to battle the Islamist group al-Shabaab.  The group is blamed by the Kenyan government for attacking and kidnapping foreigners in a country renowned for its tourism and frequent visitors.

However, no one has yet to claim responsibility for the attacks in Garisa, a town besieged by attacks since the Kenyan government targeted al-Shabaab. The attacks showed similarities to Nigeria’s Boko Haram with the coordinated attacks on churches on a Sunday.

According to Reuters:

Police said they suspected the attacks could have been the work of al Shabaab sympathisers or bandits, but it was too early to say. Inside Somalia, al Shabaab declined comment.

“The goons were clad in balaclavas,” regional deputy police chief Philip Ndolo told Reuters from Garissa.

He said a total of seven attackers hurled grenades inside the Catholic Church and the African Inland Church and then opened fire with guns. They struck the churches, which are 3 km (two miles) apart, at around 10.15 a.m. (0715 GMT)

Two policemen were among the dead.

The attacks have centred around the capital of Nairobi, the port and tourist city of Mombasa and towns close to the Somalia-Kenya border; towns like Garissa.

The grenade attacks have mostly targeted the capital of Nairobi, the port city of Mombasa and northeastern towns and refugee camps near the border with Somalia. There was a grenade attack in Mombasa last week Sunday that killed three people in a night club.

The United States have linked the terrorist group to al Qaeda, and have been labeled a terrorist group by the US government, who have also warned of increasing attacks since the Kenyans first incursion in October 2011.

Sources: CNN, Reuters