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Breaking News: Somalia Militants Kill Four Christian Teachers, Group Confirms

ICC Note

“Somali converts from Islam to Christianity are specially at risk at this moment in time. They need our prayers urgently,”

April 18, 2008 Somalia (BosNewsLife) — Four Christian teachers, two of them converts from Islam, have been murdered by Islamic militants in south-central Somalia , a well-informed Christian rights group confirmed Friday, April 18.

Barnabas Fund told BosNewsLife that British residents Daud Assan Ali, 64, and his female colleague Rehana Ahmed, 32, both of Somali origin, and two Kenyans were shot and killed when militants stormed the school complex in the city of Beledweyne on Sunday, April 13, where the Christians were sleeping.

The names of the Kenyans were not immediately released.

“Both Mr Ali and Ms Ahmed lived in the United Kingdom and were converts from Islam to Christianity. Mr Ali returned to his home town in 2004 to realize his life-long dream of establishing an [English Private] school,” among the Hiran community, the group explained. ‘The Private English School ‘ was only completed one month ago.”

Night Time Raid

The attack came shortly after Ali, on his Website for school supporters reportedly expressed concern on March 30 about possible night-time raids by militant fighters.

A spokesman for the Islamist group responsible for the attack on the town reportedly claimed that the killings were not premeditated, but that the four teachers had been caught in cross fire.

Barnabas Fund said however it learned from several residents of Beledweyne that Ali and his colleagues were singled out “because they were Christians and the Islamists feared that they were teaching their pupils about Christianity.”

Ali’s wife has reportedly said in an interview that her husband had been targeted because he was a convert from Islam to Christianity.

Tiny Minority

There are a tiny number of Somali converts to Christianity living in Somalia , several of whom have been murdered in recent years by Islamic radicals, Barnabas Fund said. Militants have vowed to wipe out all Somali Christians, according to rights watchers.

This week’s attack comes at a time when fighting between Somali Islamic militias and Ethiopian forces has reportedly increased hostility towards Christians.

There is a long history of conflict between Somalis, who historically have all been Muslims, and Ethiopians, most of whom are Christians, said Barnabas Fun, which supports Christian believers in mainly Muslim nations.

“Somali converts from Islam to Christianity are specially at risk at this moment in time. They need our prayers urgently,” explained Barnabas Fund’s International Director Patrick Sookhdeo in an e-mailed message to supporters.