Muslim Driver Saves Eight Christians from al-Shabaab Attack

Terror Group Tries to Ambush Non-Local Workers in Kenya

10/25/2019 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Eight construction workers in Mandera South, Kenya barely escaped a terror attack along the Elwak-Kutulo road at the hands of al-Shabaab, a Somali-based militant group. Upon seeing the 10 heavily armed men flagging down the workers’ vehicle, the Muslim driver quickly decided to defy their stop orders and sped off to save the targeted Christian passengers and himself. The vehicle, hired by a construction company, ferried the workers to and from the Borehole 11 township hospital site.

In an exclusive interview with a senior Elwak police officer, ICC confirmed the incident and that all of the vehicle’s occupants were safe. The officer shared, “We received reports of the attempted attack and immediately dispatched our security officers who managed to meet the vehicle on the way, about four kilometers from Elwak town. We applaud Mr. Hassan Abdul for his [bravery] in escaping from the trap of the Somali insurgents and saving the lives of the eight innocent men.

One of the survivors, Simon Kiiru, described the horrific near-death experience as “a traumatizing moment that should not be wished upon anybody regardless of their tribe or religion.” He continued, “As soon as we had bypassed the attackers, they started running after us while spraying bullets on the van and deflating one of the tires. We lied on the floor and we could hear bullets hitting the body of the van. We thank God that the driver, who is a Muslim, did not stop to sacrifice us to the enemy. His act of love has touched our hearts in a way we shall never forget.”

This is not the first time that a local Muslim in Mandera has saved the lives of Christians this year. In a similar incident in August 2019, al-Shabaab ambushed a passenger bus from Wajir heading to Nairobi. Although the attackers shot the driver three times, he managed to drive the car to safety at the nearest police post. The Muslim driver put his life in danger to save over 40 passengers, the majority of whom were Christian teachers traveling home for the August school vacation.

Earlier this month, approximately 20 al-Shabaab militants were seen near the porous Kenya-Somali border, heading towards Garsesala hills in Mandera with loads of cargo believed to be guns and improvised explosive devises. Security has been tightened in Mandera and Garissa, and non-locals have been urged to remain vigilant but calm.

Mandera is predominantly Muslim and ethnicalluy Somali. However, many non-local Kenyans travel to this area looking for work in the mining industry. Often, they are targeted because they are easily identifiable as Christians. Pastor Daniel Muturi of Mandera requests that “the Church continue praying for the believers in northeastern Kenya as they work to raise income for their families.

Nathan Johnson, ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, said, “It is incidents like these that bring hope. It shows that no matter what ethnicity or religion, there are those who are willing to risk their lives to save others. The driver should be lauded for his bravery, and others should work to emulate his example. It is through acts like this that terrorism can be defeated. Please pray for safety, peace, and security in Mandera.”

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

ICC is on a mission to help persecuted Christians. Will you join us?