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Just 18 Days Later, the Ghost of Terrorism Hits Mandera Again

By ICC’s Kenya Correspondent

10/31/2016 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – On October 25at 2:30 a.m., the Somali Islamic group Al-Shabaab carried out an attack on a guest house in Mandera town, believed to have been hosting 33 people, killing 12. Among the victims were two theater members who were in the county for high school literature performances ahead of the Kenya national examinations

“They used improvised explosive devises to break the metallic gate after which they started shooting occupants in the rooms,” said David Maina, a witness who was sleeping in a lodge close to the scene of the attack.

Veronica Wambui is an actress who was on tour in Mandera and staying at the guest house. She spoke about the ordeal during a televised interview , “We were asleep when we heard loud explosions at the main gate. The attackers went room to room, shooting. We hid in a storeroom and the attackers set off another explosion which made the wall collapse on us. I could see the lights when they were checking out the room, but the collapsed wall had covered me but they shot me in the left hand”

David Mutwiri, who has been doing missions work in Mandera for two decades, asked the global Church to stand with the suffering Christians of Mandera. He said, “Waking up to the loss of 12 people in Mandera town is a great setback and unfortunate. These were innocent Kenyans who had sacrificed a lot to help in the development of the county of Mandera when the Somali militants killed them mercilessly.”

He continued, “We stand with the bereaved families during this hard time and we ask the government to beef up security for the citizens living in Mandera, Garissa and the Coastal region too. We are perturbed by the continued attacks [on] Christians in [the] North [East], and we ask the Christian body all over the world to join us in prayer as we continue to condemn this heinous act of cowardice.”

International Christian Concern (ICC) has been visiting the families of the six victims of another Mandera attack that took place on October 6. Rebecca Araka, who lost her husband, Evans Araka cried, “We have been coming to terms with the loss of my husband and father to our five children and now Mandera is attacked again. This reminds us of the day when we received the saddest news of our lifetime, that Evans is dead. The pain of losing an innocent family member through such inhumane acts of ruthlessness is both cruel and unacceptable.”

Upon learning of the latest attack, President Uhuru Kenyatta cancelled a state visit to Angola. The president called for unity and stressed that Kenyans will not be divided along religious lines.

The U.S. ambassador to Kenya, Bob Godec, tweeted, “Deepest condolences to all who lost family members and friends. We stand with Kenya.”

This is the second deadly attack in Mandera by Al-Shabaab this month. The terrorist group has posed a major security concern in Mandera, Garissa, Wajir, Lamu and Mombasa throughout the past year. Northeastern Kenya remains one of the most volatile regions, with non-local Christians opting to leave their workplaces in the region.  This year alone, 37 people have been killed by Al-Shabaab in Mandera and Garissa, including security officers.

A 440-mile barricade wall is being erected along the border between Kenya and Somalia in hopes of keeping the terrorist group from entering Kenya from neighboring Somalia.