Al-Shabaab Attack Victims Continue to Mourn One Year Later

By ICC’s Kenya Correspondent

08/18/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – A year has passed since al-Shabaab militants brutally murdered four people in the quiet village of Maleli, Kenya on August 18, 2017. Memories of the horrific attack still haunt the victims’ families. The distraught family members of Stephen Hizano, Charo Karisa, Naphtali Katana, and Joseph Gasena still struggle with trauma and grief, hoping that God will continue to comfort them.

“Life without my husband is very hard. To be a widow at this time is the most traumatizing thing I have ever known. We were depending on him for care and provision, but he is no more. He was killed in the most gruesome way by gunmen who never cared. I still wonder why they killed my husband.” Caroline Riziki, the widow of Joseph Gasena, shared with ICC.

The Maleli attack was one of many coordinated attacks on the villages that border the dense Boni forest. This area is believed to be the hideout and place of operation for al-Shabaab, a terrorist group linked to al-Qaeda.

Katana Nyati, expressed the pain of losing his son, “The attack left us devastated and empty. They killed our only son and torched our houses. There is totally nothing that can fill the emptiness in our hearts. This one year has been a great trial to our faith.”

“Life without my husband is very hard. To be a widow at this time is the most traumatizing thing I have ever known... I still wonder why they killed my husband.”

After the attack, the four affected families, along with the villagers of Maleli, moved to a camp for internally displaced people. However, the government has since urged them to return to their village due to increased security. The government operation to remove al-Shabaab from the Boni forest created a sense of security within the communities, but the families are still skeptical of returning to their homes as they still fear for their lives.

We still get chills whenever we think of going back to our village. We fear that al-Shabaab might come and attack us again. It will take a long time before things go back to normal in the villages near Boni forest,” Kahonzi Hinzano told ICC.

The residents of Maleli are mostly farmers and they have been struggling financially since the attack because they have not been able to generate enough income to provide for their families.

“We need prayers and moral support as we come to terms with the loss of dear ones. The attack in our village caused us immense psychological damage that could take us many years to overcome.” Elizabeth Kadzo, who also lost her husband, told ICC.

In the recent months, al-Shabaab has carried out several bombings targeting security forces in northeastern Kenya. Please continue to pray for the safety and financial well-being of these families. Ask God to provide for their financial, spiritual, and emotional needs.

For interviews with Nathan Johnson, Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org

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