By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
NAIROBI, KENYA (ANS) -- Jefferson Gathu, director of Crossroad Bible Institute's satellite prison ministry in Kenya, has taken his family and fled Nairobi due to the recent violence in the region.
So far, the four-day terrorist siege at Nairobi's Westgate Mall, carried out by an al Qaeda-linked Somali militant group, has claimed 67 lives, but that number will likely rise as authorities search through the rubble for those still missing inside.
"When this happened, I was a few miles away but was called by friends and used another route," Gathu said in a news release made available to the ASSIST News Service.
Gathu reported that his family is safe, as is the CBI Kenya staff, all of whom are Kenyan nationals. "But we are affected as a ministry because some of our friends and partners are among the victims," Gathu said.
One of those friends is Mark, a member of a prison ministry that partners with CBI Kenya. Mark was hospitalized and also lost his two children in the massacre. According to news reports, 175 people were injured in the attack and 60 people remain hospitalized.
"Our brother Mark is our close associate and is involved with almost all of our programs in prison," said Gathu in the release.
CBI Kenya is facilitating fundraising efforts to help with expenses such as hospital bills.
Gathu also reported that one of CBI Kenya's ministry partners has a cousin who was taken hostage and is still missing as of Tuesday.
"Continue to remember us in your prayers," Gathu asked.
As of Sept. 25, the news release said, Kenya began a nationwide mourning period of three days.
During this time, the Crossroad community is praying for God's protective hand over the ministry in Kenya, remembering those who are affected by the massacre and hoping for peace and healing in the region.
CBI is a nonprofit prison ministry with over 45,000 students studying through satellite campuses on six continents. The program is provided at no cost to prisoners and their families.
For more information visit http://cbi.fm/about-us