10/11/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on the morning of October 10, Somali Islamic militants ambushed a school at 1:00 a.m. in Mandera East and bombed the teachers’ house. As a result, two non-local teachers were killed and three others were severely injured. Non-local teachers living in northeastern Kenya are commonly targeted by Muslim radicals because they are a predominantly Christian group.
The two victims, Johnstone Okumu and Simon Wekesa, taught at Arabia High School which is situated along the porous Kenya-Somalia border, a terrorist hotbed. While speaking with ICC, the senior police commander of Mandera confirmed, “We have lost two teachers to a terrorist attack early this morning at Arabia Boys School. We are already pursuing the attackers in collaboration with our forces in Somalia in case they have crossed the border.”
Several teachers have expressed their concern about the continued hostility and spate of attacks targeting teachers and non-locals who live and work in northeastern Kenya.
“It is unfortunate that innocent teachers who are out to bring light and open up the northeastern region are being slaughtered time to time just because of their faith,” said Mr. Martin Kamutu, a teacher in Mandera. “It is painful to lose our colleagues through such a heinous act of cowardice. Our hearts bleed because even after dedicating our time and professionalism in serving this community, they still hate Christians.”
Esita Katunge, a senior teacher in Elwak, Mandera, expressed, “Non-local teachers have suffered enough. The government declined to give us transfers to safer school and promised to protect us, but until now security has not improved.”
Rev. John* of Mandera said, “This is another bad example of what religion can do. We are losing Christians at a very high rate in Mandera. Last month we lost five to terrorism and now again we have lost two teachers. We ask the international community and human rights groups to get involved in northern Kenya.”
This attack on Christian teachers in northeastern Kenya took place barely eight months after three teachers of Qarsa Primary School were killed in a similar way on February 16, 2018. In 2014, 28 teachers were massacred after al-Shabaab militants attacked a Nairobi-bound bus in Mandera, singling out Christians passengers.
Nathan Johnson, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “It is sad that those serving and teaching in northeastern Kenya are often targeted and attacked for their faith. The border with Somalia must be secured and the terrorist group al-Shabaab must be stopped. We hope to see these killings end and for teachers to be able to practice whatever faith they choose in safety.”