(Morning Star News) – In a pre-dawn raid on a predominantly Christian area in coastal Kenya on Sunday (Jan. 31), Islamic extremist Al Shabaab rebels killed at least four Christians, beheading one of them, area sources said.
In the Kaisari area of Maporomoko village, near Pandanguo about 25 miles inland from the Indian Ocean town of Lamu, Al Shabaab rebels attacked from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., a wounded survivor at Mpeketoni Sub-County Hospital told Morning Star News.
The victim, a Christian from the Maporomoko-Bondeni area who was shot in his right hand, said there were five or six heavily-armed assailants who spoke Somali and were dressed in military uniform. They shot two Christians to death, hacked and beheaded another and killed at least one other by setting his house on fire, he said.
“I could not understand them, so they shot me in my hand, but I managed to escape while a neighbor who was with me was beheaded by the other attackers,” the Christian (name withheld) said from his hospital bed. “As I fled for my life bleeding, I could see two houses burning. Those who were attacked are Christians. I am very sure that the attackers were looking for Christians.”
The beheaded man was identified only as Mwaura, a Christian.
“This is the third time the area has been attacked, and we have lost several Christians,” the survivor said.
The rebels, who are fighting government and regional forces in Somalia, regard the northern coastal area of Kenya as Islamic territory. Al Shabaab, linked with Al Qaeda, took responsibility for the attack in a call to news organization Al Jazeera.
“Our fighters attacked non-believers in the occupied Muslim land of Lamu,” a spokesman said. “Our Mujahideen [Jihadists] killed several non-believers in the attack. We will give more details later.”
Unknown people resembling Al Shabaab militants had previously been seen in Pandanguo, a predominantly Muslim area, an area Christian leader said. Pandanguo is about 60 miles from the Somalia border.
“The Muslims want to wholly own the coastal region, and they want that the Christians should leave the area for them, but our presence in Lamu will bring many to the Christian faith,” the pastor said. “God has called us to be the salt and the light and to lead many to the marvelous light of Christ.”
Maporomoko village has a population of about 2,000 people from Christian tribes – Kikuyus, Meru and Kamba – and from non-Christian or Muslim Orma, Boni and Wasanye tribes, as well as Somalis. The Al Shabaab militants attacked only the Christian areas, the Christian leader said.
Please pray for our brothers and sisters in a coastal area of Kenya where extremists killed at least four Christians on Sunday.
For four hours before dawn, gunmen assaulted Christian areas of Maporomoko village in Lamu County, killing at least one Christian with knives, shooting others and setting homes alight. Several people were wounded; according to some reports, others were kidnapped.
Al-Shabaab, an Islamist militant group from neighbouring Somalia, said it carried out the attack. It regards the northern coastal area of Kenya as Islamic territory; Maporomoko is in a predominantly Muslim area. Eyewitnesses said it was clear the attackers on Sunday were hunting down Christians.
The area is no stranger to violence: in June 2014, al-Shabaab killed more than 57 people in Mpeketoni in Lamu County (Prayer Alert, June 19 2014). Local Christians are fearful and hundreds are reported to be fleeing their homes. Yet, one area church leader said Christians should not be cowed: ‘God has called us to be the salt and the light and to lead many to the marvellous light of Christ,’ he said.
- Please pray that God will comfort the families of those killed in Maporomoko and heal the wounded.
- Pray that Christians in Lamu County will stand firm in their faith in the face of persecution (Matthew 24:12).
- Pray that the Kenyan Government and security forces will take firm action now to tackle extremist groups.
(Source: Morning Star News)