Nearly 150 students were massacred on 2 April at the Garissa university campus in Kenya, the latest in a series of atrocities perpetrated against Christians by the Somalia-based Al-Shabaab terrorist group. MEPs condemned the killings in the harshest of terms during a debate on 29 April, demanding that the EU supports Kenya in its efforts to combat extremists. On 30 April, MEPs will vote on a resolution on the persecution of Christians around the world.
Speaking on behalf of the EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, Neven Mimica, the commissioner responsible for international cooperation and development, said the EU unreservedly condemned attacks against not only Christians, but also against other religioous and ethnic groups.
Spanish EPP member Teresa Jiménez-Becerril said other political groups in the Parliament avoided mentioning the persecution of Christians around the world in their resolutions: “There are Christians dying every hour. We have to talk about them.”
Spanish S&D member Elena Valenciano said: “I fear there is a great deal of ignorance [in the West] on what is really going on in that country. The EU has to support Kenya. It is a war against all of us.”
Angel Dzhambazki, a Bulgarian member of the ECR group, said: “The radical religious extremists are now uniting against our values and our way of life and this has been very clearly and arrogantly illustrated in recent days. That is why we don’t need resolutions, but military operations helping Kenya.”
Enrique Calvet Chambon, a Spanish member of the ALDE group, commented: “We have to involve the EU as well as teachers, trainers, people who can transmit information, experts from the EU who can help African forces on the ground, to get them in a position to prevent these kinds of massacres and slaughters.”
Spanish GUE/NGL member Lidia Sendra Rodriguez said the EU should tackle the causes of conflicts in Africa. “The solution is not more military operations,” she warned, adding that most people in Kenya live in poverty.
Maria Heubuch, a German member of the Greens/EFA group, said that in the case of the attacks in Kenya these are “obviously the people who suffer and always have to suffer when groups want to increase their power”.
Italian EFDD member Fabio Massimo Castaldo said poverty was at the root of the problem, fuelling terrorism. “We need to stem the tide of this [extremism].”
Meanwhile Mara Bizzotto, a non-attached member from Italy, said: “We, Christians, have the right to exist, to live. But we are supposed to just die out. Why can’t Europe face this and defend their own Christians?”