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4/8/2024 Somalia (International Christian Concern) – Suspected al-Shabab Islamic extremists killed six Christian men in Somalia on Friday, March 29. The Christians, originally from Kenya, sold plastic goods and shared the gospel with Muslims in the Islamic town of Dhobley. 

A Kenyan church near the Somali border supported the men during their time in Somalia. The church reported several Muslims secretly attending evening prayers, which may have drawn the attention of al-Shabab. 

Witnesses to the murders described four hooded men shooting the Christians near the back of the shop where they sold their goods. After killing the four merchants, the assailants set the shop on fire, killing the remaining two men. 

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken designated al-Shabab as an Entity of Particular concern under the International Religious Freedom Act and the supplemental Frank Wolf Act. This designation indicates the U.S. government found al-Shabab engaged in particularly severe violations of religious freedom and “exercises significant political power and territorial control; is outside the control of a sovereign government; and often employs violence in pursuit of its objectives.” 

Formed in the late 2000s, al-Shabab has reigned terror across a sizable portion of Somalia and neighboring countries, controlling Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, when the group first formed. According to the U.S. International Religious Freedom Report, Somalia is 99% Sunni Muslim, and the government and several extremist groups enforce adherence to the faith. In contrast, neighboring Kenya is 85.5% Christian and 11% Muslim. 

Conditions for Christians in Somalia are grim due to elevated levels of civilian conflict and insecurity from terrorist groups like al-Shabab. Unfortunately, stories such as this one are common in Somalia. 

We pray that the families of these victims will be comforted by the Lord and the Christian communities to which they belong. We pray that the divine and incomprehensible justice of the Lord will reign upon those perpetrating violence against Christians in Somalia. 

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