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By Nathan Johnson

08/16/2017 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern)I heard food steps entering the compound and asked my husband if anyone was coming to see him. Suddenly they knocked at our door and commanded us to step out. They took my husband away and threatened to kill me and my two small children if I dared to scream, follow, or call the police. Shortly, they returned without my husband and asked where his identification card was.

In the end, it didn’t matter whether Naomi Munyi could find her husband’s identification card or not. Her husband was still one of seven Christian men murdered by al-Shabaab militants who conducted the night raid on Jima village, in Lamu. These seven men’s names are Saidi Mbigo, Matei Mlatia, Peter Mburu, Teresio Munyi, Mwangangi Muneni, Katana Karisa Chai, and Musyoka Maithya. All seven were husbands and fathers.

To learn the story of the raid, International Christian Concern (ICC) visited the families of the deceased and the rest of the survivors living in AIC Witu.

Mwende Mulwa told ICC that, before the attack, “six men dressed in police uniform[s] went by the homes telling people to remain indoors [after] 6:00 p.m. because there was a curfew… Little did we know that they were spies tricking us to remain indoors even after Jima had been attacked.

It was easy for villagers to believe the militants disguised as police officers because three days prior to the attack, the Pandanguo police station, school, dispensary, and a communication mast had been vandalized. In that attack, three police officers were killed and the entire area fell into a state of fear and caution. For the villagers in Jima, it made sense that police officers told them to stay indoors.

Naomi, Teresio Munyi’s wife, continued her story, “I told [the militants] I did not know where he kept [his ID card, so they would have to] bring him back to find it. They left angrily. After about 15 minutes, I heard screams coming from our neighbor’s home and that’s when I learned that the village was under attack.” But she didn’t know what was happening to her husband.

Naomi’s neighbor, Mbeyo Mutie, did know. Mbeyo recalls that evening, “[I] heard Teresio Munyi crying for help and saying that he was being killed. We picked our two children and ran to the nearby bush. Later we heard commotion at our neighbor’s home where they also dragged him to the main road, tied his hand behind the back, and slit his throat.

Mwende Mulwa, who escaped death by hiding in the bush with her husband and children, told ICC, “We heard screams rending the night and escaped into the nearby bush. The disorder went on for about four hours and then calmness was restored.

Just like Teresio’s story, the assailants chose Saidi Mbigo and killed him a few meters from his home.

Agnes Saidi told us what happened to her husband, “I saw three men [with covered] faces drag my husband out of the compound and I knew they were the al-Shabaab and they would just kill him. We left the house and hid in the farm where we heard my husband crying for help. That’s the time they killed him. Early in the morning we found his dead body lying just about 200 meters away. It was a devastating scene.

This devastating scene has been repeated many times along the Kenya-Somalia border. Lamu, an archipelago off of Kenya, has been described as the second most dangerous place in Kenya after Mandera because it is the soft underbelly for al-Shabaab. Jima village is especially dangerous because it lies very close to the expansive Boni forest, the primary hideout for al-Shabaab. It has led to these same devastating attacks taking place in and around Lamu many times. The terror of these attacks does not end when the terrorists leave however. For the families and friends of those killed, the horrors continue in the days to follow.