Al-Shabaab Attacks Bus Traveling in Kenya Looking for Christians
Fortunately, There Were No Christians Onboard and Nobody was Killed
01/13/2021 Kenya (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that yesterday, January 12, 2021, gunmen believed to be part of the Somali-based al-Shabaab terrorist group flagged down a passenger bus at Tarbaj, Wajir State. During the attack the gunmen separated men from women, interrogating them to identify non-local travelers.
Reporting on the incident, the conductor of the bus plying Mandera Nairobi route said, “We were approaching a place called Darkut when six fully armed men stopped the bus. They fired in the air and ordered all our passengers from Mandera to alight. They separated men and women and started asking if there were people who were not Somalis. They also wanted to know if we carried any civil servants. Fortunately, they were not able to identify any.”
Al-Shabaab has long posed a security threat in the Northeastern region along Kenya’s border with Somalia, regularly targeting Christians. In recent years, the militants have killed hundreds of non-local passengers by separating them from Muslims and shooting them dead. Yesterday, when they failed to identify any Christians, they ransacked the bus and stole foodstuffs and other items belonging to the travelers. They also robbed the conductor.
“They demanded the money that the passengers had paid for fare, and I handed it over, all of it, 40,000Ksh. That’s when they left.” He said.
Speaking during a security meeting on January 11, Captain Ali Roba, the Governor of Mandera, admitted that insecurity has reached unprecedented levels over the last three months because “al-Shabaab [has] taken control of half of the Northeastern region and occupied strategic locations due to their undeterred movement across the border and within the area.” He also stated that members of the al-Shabaab are “collecting livestock by force from helpless pastoralists in the name of Zakat.”
We are thankful that nonlocal Christians and civil servants were not identified in this recent bus attack in Northeastern Kenya. However, a solution must soon be identified to stop the menace of al-Shabaab.
ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, Nathan Johnson, states, “the porous border between Kenya and Somalia continues to be a problem for Kenyan Christians. Al-Shabaab uses porous areas to move into Kenyan territory, target Christians, then retreat back to the safety of Somalian soil. Their brutal and evil tactics of targeting and executing passengers on buses merely for being Christians is one of the clearest forms of persecution taking place anywhere in the world today.”