Garissa’s Christians Told ‘Worship Here and You’ll Die’

ICC Note:  Nearly four months after al-Shabaab’s deadly assault on Kenyan Christians in Garissa, Kenya on April 2, local Christians remain fearful of further attacks.  The Garissa University attack claimed 148 lives while injuring dozens more.  During the attack, the insurgents spared Muslim students and specifically targeted and murdered Christians.  Due to continued threats, many Christians no longer find it safe to live and worship in Garissa.  In the face of fear and uncertainty though, some Christians refuse to leave their churches and homes in Garissa, risking their lives and safety in the face of potential future attacks.

By Nima Elbagir and Antonia Mortensen

7/26/15, Kenya (CNN) – Christians have come under repeated attacks in North Eastern Province in Kenya at the hands of Al-Shabaab militants who have killed hundreds.

It’s sunrise over the Tana River. Traffic starts to flow over the bridge and morning rush hour begins. What looks like the beginning of a normal workday here has a much darker undertone. Most of the commuters are day laborers, people going into their offices, but also many Christians who are too scared to sleep inside Garissa town. They have decided to move themselves and their families across to the other side of the river to safety.

We met Esther as she was crossing the bridge on foot on her way to work. She is a mother of three and a Christian. When we ask her why she decided to move her and her family out of town she tells us: “It is because of Al-Shabaab that I moved out of Garissa. You can be shot anytime while you are walking. Even when we’re at home they can just come from the bush.”

In April this year, hundreds of students at Garissa University in northern Kenya came under attack when Al-Shabaab militants from across the border in Somalia raided dormitories at the college. Separating Christian students from their Muslim classmates, the raiders killed 147 and wounded dozens more. Today, the university stands empty.

Christians in North Eastern Kenya have come under repeated attacks by Al-Shabaab militants.

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