01/21/2022 Kenya (International Christian Concern) – Residents of the serene village of Kamloma in Western Kenya were thrown into a panic on Wednesday, December 7th, when a loud explosion emerged from the home of Petro, Mary, and Nancy Onyango.
Alarm soon turned into horror as neighbors realized the origin of the blast. Charles Obala, Petro’s brother, narrated the events that followed.
“We heard a loud explosion coming from my brother’s homestead. Suddenly, Nancy appeared with blood all over her body. We took her inside the house and rushed to check what had happened. I was the first to arrive and found my brother and his wife already dead and another body lying a distance from them.”
The other body, Charles soon realized, was that of John Odhiambo.
Locally known as ‘Pope,’ Odhiambo was alleged to have returned from Somalia where he claimed to be working for a construction company. Petro and Mary were his neighbors, and they knew each other well.
Nancy Onyango, the only child of Petro and Mary, recalled the events of that night.
“We had taken supper and sat outside our house to get fresh air before going to bed.
John Odhiambo walked into our homestead and sat opposite us.
I was sitting between my father and mother, but I was closer to my mother. He sat about three meters from us and what I can remember is that he verbally greeted us and laughed…
Then the bomb went off.”
Odhiambo had detonated an IED, intending to kill himself along with the entire Onyango family.
“It happened so quickly that I did not notice that my father and mother had died,” said Nancy. “I regained consciousness at the hospital. That’s all that I know.”
While Nancy survived the explosion, she sustained various injuries, including the loss of three of her right-hand fingers.
“I was shocked to find out that I had lost three of my fingers. I also had deep cuts on my chest and back, and my ear was chopped a little. I stayed in the hospital for two weeks. I did not celebrate Christmas with my parents. I also missed meeting with my young friends at church. This was very painful. Why did John kill my parents?”
Charles, Nancy’s uncle, speculated about the reason for the attack.
“Petro was a great evangelist in this village. They always had friendly discussions on religion whenever John resurfaced from where we do not know. He used to challenge John on why he converted to Islam after being raised as a Christian. Sometimes he would be disgruntled by the conversations, but he never showed any intention of hurting anyone. He never threatened anyone in our family.”
The police declared the suicide-bomb a terror attack, similar to the al-Shabaab style attacks more commonly seen in Eastern Kenya. Sadly, the assault exemplifies a growing trend of extremism in Kenya’s west.
For 13-year-old Nancy, this extremism took the life of her parents, and sought her life as well. Her survival is truly miraculous.
As believers in Christ, we can be confident that God can take what the enemy meant for evil and use it for good. Nancy’s life has been spared for a reason. God has a great purpose for her future, and as her family in Christ we are blessed to walk alongside her and bear witness to the sovereignty of our Lord.
Please pray for Nancy as she grieves the loss of her parents. Pray that the Lord would comfort her and overwhelm her with His love and peace. Please also pray for those who persecute the church, that they would accept the love of Jesus and turn from darkness to light.