08/21/2017 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on August 17, 2017, al-Shabaab militants perpetrated another attack in Kenya’s Lamu County where four Christian men were killed. The attack came just over one month after an attack in nearby Jima village where seven Christian men were killed.
Late in the night on August 17, al-Shabaab militants entered Maleli village of Witu and killed the four men; three were hacked to death with machetes and one was burned inside his home. The four men who were killed are Stephen Hizano Ponda, Charo Karisa Ngoa, Naphtali Katana Kadenge, and Joseph Gasena Ngoa. The midnight raid also comes barely a week after Kenya entered into general elections, during which al-Shabaab promised to create chaos.
Pastor Henry Divayo of Witu African Inland Church (AIC), where hundreds of Jima families are taking refuge, said, “One of the men killed this morning in Maleli, Naphtali Katana Kadenge, was a son to a family staying in this camp and he was a student at Lamu high school. During the vacation, he decided to go back to Maleli village to fend off wild animals that feed on farm crops. He was advised to be cautious, but when al-Shabaab stormed their house, he was found and killed.”
Father Cyprian Taah of Witu Catholic Church told ICC,“One of our catechists, Stephen Nyati, lost his son in the attack and we are saddened as a church community and we strongly condemn the act. His son had gone back to the fields to check the progress of the farm when the militants pulled him out of the house and slaughtered him.” He continued, “We are asking the global community to remember us in prayer and if possible send us material help because the people in the camps need food, shelter, water, medicine, sanitary pads and soap.”
The President of Kenya asked the families to remain calm in the displacement camps as measures are being taken to rid the area of the terrorists. He ensured the villagers that they will return to their villages and resume their normal lives as soon as possible, but this recent attack means that Lamu is still not safe.
One of the chiefs in Witu, Chief Macharia, stated, “[There] is desperation in the camps that is making a few people return to the villages even after the government ordered all the people to remain in the camps. The Boni Forest operation to kill al-Shabaab is ongoing and several of them have been killed. This operation will go on until all the militants disturbing the peace of Lamu residents are neutralized. We continue to urge the people to stay inside the camps until new orders to return to their homes [are] given by the higher authority.”
ICC’s Regional Manager, Nathan Johnson, said, “The Kenyan government must provide safety and stability to all of its people. They must end al-Shabaab’s reign of terror that has been thriving on the border with Somalia. We pray for the families of the deceased and for peace to come to a region that has seen such violence toward Christians. We hope that Kenya’s government can take effective action to rid Kenya of these terrorist attacks.”