Two Survivors Recall Horrors of the Recent Mandera Attack
By Nathan Johnson
11/29/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Kevin Lomosi and Elijah Nderitu are grateful to God for rescuing them from the claws of armed militants. A typical night turned tragic when al-Shabaab terrorists struck with the aim of killing the non-local Christian teachers of Arabia Secondary School in eastern Kenya. The two survivors recalled the deadly attack to ICC.
“We were woken up by a loud blast at the door that caused objects to fall and glasses to shatter. In that moment, we knew that the Somali al-Shabaab members had stormed our school and they were targeting us. The explosive device did not succeed in blasting the main door apart. They [then] went around the house shooting at us through the windows,” Mr. Lomosi recounted.
The attack on October 10 left two Christian teachers, Philip Okumu and Daniel Wekesa, dead. The school is located in Mandera East Constituency, approximately two kilometers from the Kenya-Somalia border. Although the Kenyan government has been erecting a security wall with surveillance equipment at the border, the terror group frequently sneaks across the border to commit atrocities against Christians before fleeing back to Somalia.
“The 1:00 a.m. attack lasted about 40 minutes,” Lomosi said. “When the blast went off, I quickly slid under one of the two beds in my room and leaned on the wall. All the bullets just barely missed me. I heard them cock their guns and I was so terrified and weak that I could not even scream. It seemed to me like a horror movie. I smelled gun smoke for the first time.”
Although Mr. Lomosi was traumatized by the attack, he remembers the incident in vivid detail. “The shooting spree went on for about five minutes. I was not sure whether my three colleagues were still safe. I heard the assailants talk in Somali dialect and they cocked their guns again. There was some quietness, and one would think the assault was over. Suddenly, they threw another explosive that flung open the door. Two gunmen entered my room and the others went into my late colleague’s room. They checked in [a] hurry and left. I don’t know how they missed me, but I saw them.”
“I heard them cock their guns and I was so terrified and weak that I could not even scream. It seemed to me like a horror movie.”
“After two minutes, they returned to my room and set the beds on fire,” he continued. “I heard Mr. Philip Okumu crying from their room saying, ‘Come back and finish us up. Just go ahead and kill me.’ [At] that point I knew Philip was badly injured and hopeless. They came back and lit the room he was in [on fire].”
Elijah Nderitu survived because he slept in a very small room that looked like a storage closet. He said, “I think that’s why they never bothered to shoot or enter inside. I dipped my blanket in the water I had kept in a basin, wrapped myself up and came out of the house that was half burnt. I ran and hid in the bushes behind the school latrines till morning. That is how I escaped. I am so sorry for my colleagues who lost their lives. May God strengthen their families.”
Lomosi was torn between getting burnt inside or dashing out and getting shot. He decided to flee. “I covered my body in sheets and fled through the flames. Luckily, the assailants had escaped after lighting the buildings on fire. I crawled through the fence, then to the nearby bushes where I spent the rest of the night. Tears were flowing from my eyes at the sight of blazing flames gutting down our house. Thoughts of my friends getting burned made me really sad. I felt like going back to check if they were still alive.”
“I [was] reunited with Elijah in the morning when the police found us. We saw the lifeless bodies of Philip and Daniel, burnt beyond recognition. That broke our hearts completely. I can only pray for peace and comfort upon the families of our deceased brothers. Rest in peace, Philip and Daniel,” he continued.
Many Christian teachers have lost their lives in northeastern Kenya. Earlier this year, on February 16, three other Christian teachers were killed in an attack on a school in Wajir County. Christians in eastern Kenya continue to face attacks by this ravenous terrorist organization. Please continue to pray for stability and peace to come to this dangerous area of the world.
For interviews with Nathan Johnson, Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org