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Sifa FM Office Destroyed During Attacks

Part of TWR Kenya partner station burnt down during assaults

Deadly attacks by militants near the Kenyan town of Mpeketoni on June 15 and 16 destroyed an office of Trans World Radio’s national partner, Sifa FM, but didn’t harm staff members in the area, the broadcaster says.

Sifa FM is located on Lamu Island, about 30 kilometers away from the incident, but it has a small office in Mpeketoni. This office was destroyed in the assault.

“Our station is on the island, but we have a small office in Mpeketoni donated by one of our listeners,” said Bernice Gatere, director of TWR Kenya. “It is this office which was burnt down along with the entire building. The staff in Lamu are all safe but very shaken. The station manager visited the Mpeketoni area earlier today to assess the damage to the small office there.”

Al-Shabab militants from northeastern neighbor Somalia claimed responsibility for the attacks, which killed more than 60 people, while reports say that Kenya’s president believes “local political networks” are the culprits. Last year, al-Shabab attacked a mall in the capital, Nairobi, killing 67. TWR Kenya’s main office, which was not affected by either attack, is in Nairobi.

With the nation undergoing a surge in violence, TWR Kenya has produced a number of broadcasts that have called for peace and reconciliation and that have included messages about healing and coping amid traumatic circumstances. More of these will be developed as resources are available, Gatere said.