GARISSA, Kenya, July 1 (Xinhua) -- Death toll from twin grenade attacks in northern Kenya has risen to 16 and more than 40 others injured, police said on Sunday.
Regional deputy police commander Phillip Ndolo told Xinhua that the deceased included 10 females, 5 males and 1 juvenile who were among the worshippers at one of the churches which were attacked by the gunmen.
"So far the death toll has risen to 16 and more than 40 have been injured. The injured are being treated at various hospitals," Ndolo told Xinhua.
He said the gunmen first killed two policemen who were screening the worshippers who enter the church for explosives and weapons as wave of insecurity have rocked the region.
"The attackers used two guns which they snatched from the two police officers to shoot at the worshippers," Ndolo said.
He said investigations have been launched as combined security forces pursue the attackers who were seen running after committing the heinous act.
"We will not relent in our efforts to restore security in this region," Ndolo vowed, adding that all the deceased died from the AIC while only three people were injured in what looked as coordinated attack at the Catholic Church.
Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) Secretary-General Abbas Gullet has appealed to Kenyans eager to donate blood and doctors to offer emergency to come forward to be transported to Garissa, where unknown gunmen hurled the twin grenades on churches.
According to Gullet, more than 65 people were injured in the simultaneously grenade and gun attacks at the Africa Inland Church (AIC) and Catholic Church as the faithful were in prayers and police said they have not arrested anyone
The police have not established where the attackers came from since they hurled grenades and sprayed bullets inside the congregation. The police said they have picked up the unexploded one for analysis.
Kenya has seen several hit-and-run grenade attacks in recent months in the capital, Nairobi, and in northern Kenya and Mombasa port city.
The Kenyan authorities often blame such attacks on Al Qaida- affiliated Al-Shabaab rebels from neighboring Somalia.
The East African nation launched cross border incursion into Somalia last October in pursuit of the militants blamed for a series of grenade and landmine attacks in Nairobi, Mombasa and northern region.
The authorities have called on Kenyans to be vigilant over terror attacks because of higher numbers of foreign fighters who sneaked into the country.
Al-Shabaab militants have vowed to attack Nairobi after the east African nation which hosted protracted negotiations that culminated in the signing of the federal charter for Somalia in 2005, invaded Somalia to flush out the insurgents it blamed for kidnappings of tourists.
A day after Kenya had launched its military action in Somalia on October 16, 2011 an Al-Shabaab spokesperson Sheikh Ali Mohamud warned that the group would launch retaliatory attacks in Kenyan cities if authorities do not withdraw troops from Somalia.
Security in key towns in Kenya has been put on a high alert as Kenya's soldiers prepare to launch a major onslaught on a strategic port city of Kismayo, a the base for revenue collection for the militia and major operations command base.