Six months after attack, Muslim assailants still at large; weary congregation faces heat, rain. GARISSA, (CDN) Six months after a gang of Muslim youths ruined a church building in this town in northern Kenya, Christians still worshipping in the sweltering heat of the open air say they feel disillusioned that officials have done nothing to punish the culprits or restore their structure. On a sunny afternoon last Sept. 14, when angry Muslim youths threw more than 400 members of the Redeemed Gospel Church out of their church building, the Christians hoped they would be able to return to the ruins of their former structure. That hope is quickly giving way to anger, hopelessness and despair. After six months in the open, the church feels tired and cheated, said pastor David Matolo. We are fed up with the empty promises from the government administration. He said the church, which began worshipping in Garissa in early 2001 with only a dozen members, is fast shrinking. Our church membership has decreased, which is of great concern to me, he told Compass. The church thinks that the government has decided to buy time almost every month I do book appointments with the relevant authorities, who on several occasions have given us a deaf ear. Since the attack, church members have been meeting at the town show grounds. Just a few miles from the Somali border, the site has few trees to protect the congregation from the scorching sun, with temperatures ranging from 92 to 104 degrees F (30 to 40 degrees C). Asked why he thought government officials were reluctant to grant the church a permanent place of worship as promised, an irritated Matolo did not hesitate to reply. The administration has decided, kutesa [inflict pain on us], always making promises that never come to pass, he said. At times the provincial commissioner deliberately decides not to take my phone calls. I have had a painful experience. Matolo said he has asked the administration either to allow the church to build a new structure on land lying idle near a police training college or to let them return to their original site. We are ready for any eventuality, he said. We feel that the administration is not concerned about our spiritual welfare. Asked about the pastors complaints, provincial police officer Stephen Chelimo told Compass, The issue at the moment is not within my docket, but wholly rests upon the provincial commissioner. But Provincial Commissioner Stephen Maingi said the onus rested on the district commissioner. Let the district commissioner sort this issue with the pastor, Maingi said. District Commissioner Onyango Ogango, in turn, indicated the church itself was the source of problems. If the church is allowed to return to their original site, we will expect a fight to erupt with the Muslims, Ogango said. Earlier on, the church began very well during its initial stage of inception with controlled worship, but later it turned out to hold noisy prayers and loud songs. Further questioned about these allegations, however, Ogango said he would call the pastor to discuss a resolution. Even so, Matolo said previous contact with the district commissioner did not leave him with high expectations. Our district commissioner seemed to have no feelings for our predicament, he said. The faces of the congregation members speak a lot. A glance at the worshippers confirmed his appraisal. They looked weary and anxious, with impending April rains expected to add to the indignity of their situation. Matolo said his congregation feels that soon it will be difficult to worship at all. Even a temporary home did not appear to be forthcoming. The pastor said their request for a site near the provincial commissioners residence was dismissed on the grounds that it would create a security concern.