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03/30/2022 Kenya (International Christian Concern) – The terror attack on January 2, 2022, in the village of Majembeni, Lamu County, Kenya, will forever be etched in Emmanuel’s memory. Emmanuel, who is five years old, saw his father, John, being killed by nine men who were armed with guns and machetes and dressed as policemen. Three months later, he told International Christian Concern (ICC) about the events that left him and his three older siblings without a father and made his mother a widow.

While a representative of ICC visited Emmanuel’s home to give aid relief, the five-year-old shared his story, something his mother says is a daily occurrence. “My son is still traumatized, and he daily tells us the conversation he had with the terrorists,” she shared.  

Emmanuel began, saying, “That day, I was at home with my father while my mother was at the other house on the farm with my sister and brothers. I spent the day with my father at the shop, then we called my mom and said good night. Then we slept.”

The attack by Somali-based Al-Shabaab members in Widho, a Christian village west of Lamu County, left six Christian men dead and a trail of shops and houses burnt to ashes. Al-Shabaab is a terrorist fundamentalist group active in East Africa and Yemen. It has been carrying out attacks in the region for almost two decades.

John was a businessman in the village, and his home was next to the retail shop he owned. He was killed alongside three other men that lived nearby. His wife and three children were away on the farm during the attack, but his youngest son, Emmanuel, was present. The terrorists did not want to kill the young boy, and they allegedly told him to go away. Emmanuel recounts:

“They broke down the door and dragged us to the shop. They tied up some other men who were there lying down. They told me to go away. I went away but came back to see my father and saw them tying him up. I asked them not to kill him, but they killed him with a machete. They also killed the other men.”

After this happened, Emmanuel walked to the farm alone at night to tell his family. They were surprised when he came alone.

Emmanuel’s older sister, Tula, told ICC that Emmanuel had said something about people being killed, but she did not understand what he meant.

“We were shocked to see him coming to the farm without our father. Then he murmured words about seeing dead people, but I could not tell exactly what he was talking about. He went to bed and slept. He woke us up early that morning and now told us that terrorists had attacked the market center, and they killed our father and his three friends.” 

Emmanuel continued,

“In the morning, I told my mom that they had killed my father. She started crying. Everybody started crying. We went to the shop and found that the terrorists had burned everything down.

Emmanuel’s mother, Joyce, remembers her husband in a moving tribute.

“We lost a caring person who worked so hard to provide for his family. My husband was killed in the presence of our youngest child, who the terrorists told us to go. Once they had killed my husband, Emmanuel walked a long distance to the farmhouse and found us asleep. He went to bed, but early in the morning, he woke me up and told me that they had killed his father. We went to check, and truly, his body was lying dead, burnt, and three other men were also killed and burnt beyond recognition.”

This attack and subsequent ones in neighboring villages forced the villagers to flee their homes. Al-Shabaab militants are hiding out in the adjacent Boni Forest, and the dense forest makes it an ideal place from which to launch attacks and avoid security forces.

Please join ICC in prayer for the family of John and for the families of the five other men who were killed in the terror attack this past January.

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