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10/18/2023 Kenya (International Christian Concern) — On the fateful night of Sept. 19, 2023, the Salama Village in Kenya was engulfed in terror as a jihadist group invaded the peaceful community.

Two men were killed and several homes were reduced to ashes. The horrific event was yet another in a series of prior attacks that had wreaked havoc and sowed fear among the villagers.

Survivors of the attack by the Somali based al-Shabab terrorist group, which is based in Somalia with operations in East Africa, recently shared with International Christian Concern (ICC) their recollections of the attack.

Eunice, a Salama resident, said, “It was around 2:00 p.m. when a group of armed individuals arrived. I was inside my house with my three children when these assailants approached and aggressively banged on my door. Initially hesitant to open, I listened for a moment and overheard them conversing in the Somali language. After a tense couple of minutes, they forcefully opened the door. By then, I had already taken my youngest child and positioned myself at a safe distance. When they saw me, they instructed me to leave the house, sit down, and remain quiet, which I complied with. I wanted to retrieve a blanket for my child from inside, but they sternly warned me not to re-enter the house.”

Eunice described the harrowing ordeal and the fate of an innocent man who fell victim to the attackers.

“After a brief period, a group of [terrorists] arrived, dragging a man behind them. They proceeded to interrogate him, inquiring why he had falsely claimed there was a man in my homestead. Sadly, they advanced to execute the man. Subsequently, they turned their attention to me and conveyed their intent to continue persecuting and executing men of our Christian community, citing their desire to convert more people to Islam. They insisted that for us to coexist peacefully in this region, we needed to convert to the Islam religion. I asked them how to do so, and they instructed me to visit the mosque for further instructions.”

Another resident named Jackson expressed his profound dismay and anger over the terrorists: “What happened to our fellow villagers was deeply distressing and unacceptable on all counts. Losing one’s life in such a manner is not only horrifying but also against the principles of God. These incidents have occurred repeatedly, yet the government assures us of security measures that seem invisible to us.”

Fueled by their anger and frustration, the residents barricaded the Lamu-Witu-Garsen road, protesting the recent wave of attacks that had left their peaceful village in turmoil.

The tragedy in Salama Village highlights the complex challenges posed by extremism and terrorism and the need for efforts from both local authorities and the national leaders to ensure the safety and well-being of the innocent civilians living in the vulnerable area. The villagers’ plea for security remains a reminder that peace and stability are fragile and require continuous vigilance, prayer, and action to persevere.