Morning Star News is reviewing the top persecution stories from 2014. Ranked at #7 is the rise of lethal attacks again non-Muslims in Kenya by the Somalia-based radical Islamic insurgency, al-Shabaab. ICC traveled to Kenya in November of 2014, documenting massacres committed by al-Shabaab and its affiliates. To contribute to ICC’s efforts to rebuild communities in Kenya devastated by Islamic militants, consider donating to ICC’s Hand of Hope Africa Fund.
01/10/2014 Kenya (Morning Star News) – Terrorist strikes by Islamic extremist Al Shabaab militants, sympathizers in Kenya of the Somali insurgent group and assailants native to Kenya accelerated in 2014. On Dec. 2 Al Shabaab killed 36 non-Muslims, most of them Christian, in an attack on quarry workers near Mandera on the border with Somalia. The killings came after a Nov. 22 assault by Somali insurgents in the same area that left 28 non-Muslims dead, including 19 Christians.
Al Shabaab, which has ties to Al Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the Dec. 2 massacre, calling it vengeance for police raids on mosques in Kenya and Kenyan military involvement in displacing the Islamic extremist militants from Somalia. Prior to the Nov. 22 attack, police raided and closed four mosques in Mombasa that they said were recruitment centers for Islamic terrorists.
Al Shabaab attacked a predominantly Christian town on Kenya’s coast on June 15, selecting out Christian males as they killed more than 57 people. The estimated 50 Al Shabaab militants attacked two hotels, a police station and other buildings inMpeketoni, in Lamu County, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the Somali border. Al Shabaab reportedly took responsibility for the attack, saying it was to avenge Kenya’s military involvement in Somalia and the killing of Muslims.
The assailants were chanting “Allahu Akbar [God is Greater]” and killing whoever could not recite verses from the Koran. “The attackers entered my house, took my boy out of the house, then killed him by shooting him, leaving my wife and daughters inside,” one pastor told Morning Star News. The militants also reportedly went door-to-door asking residents their religion and killed them if they answered “Christian.”
On March 23, gunmen entered a Sunday morning worship service in Mombasa County and sprayed the congregation with bullets, killing at least seven Christians and leaving several others in critical condition. Among the dead was assistant pastor Phillip Musasa. Two heavily-armed men wounded more than a dozen of the 200-member Joy in Jesus Church in the Likoni area of Mombasa, where a mosque said to have ties with the Somali Islamic extremist group Al Shabaab had caused tensions.
No one took responsibility for the attack, which reportedly involved a third gunman outside the church building shooting at fleeing Christians. Church leaders suspected Islamic extremists had carried it out in reprisal for a raid by armed police on the Masjid Musa Mosque (now Masjid Shuhada, or “Martyrs Mosque”) on Feb. 2, in which more than 100 Muslims were arrested and at least two were killed; most of those detained have been released.
Suspected Islamic extremists likely killed Lawrence Kazungu Kadenge, 59, an assistant pastor at Glory of God Ministries Church, in the Majengo area of Mombasa on Feb. 2 for sharing his faith near the Musa mosque and alerting authorities to security threats, sources said. Some youths reportedly raised the black flag of Al Shabaab at the mosque that day, when the raid by authorities touched off riots.