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Kenya: Three Christians beheaded on Somali border

12 September 2017

Three Christians were beheaded on Wednesday 6 September by suspected Al-Shabaab militants in Lamu West, near Hindi.

At about 1.30am, a group of around 30 men, armed with AK-47 rifles, surrounded homes in Bobo village and called out the names of the three non-Muslim men, according to local sources. When the men came out, the assailants ordered them to show their ID cards, before beheading them. The three victims were all Christians.

Gerald Wanjohi was one: his wife Catherine climbed onto the roof when the attackers broke down their door. "They were speaking in Somali and broken Swahili," she testified. The daughter of another victim, 49-year-old Guchu Ndung'u, was forced to watch her father die. Grace Ndung'u said the attackers told her they were killing her father because the 'Kenyan government has refused to withdraw its troops from Somalia'. Joseph Kimani, a teacher at Bobo Primary School, also died. The killers also burnt down his house.

Attackers 'avoid Muslim homes'

The attackers seemed to know and avoid Muslim homes and villages, say locals. One resident informed Kenyan media, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, that the attackers were not afraid of being caught: "They were taking their time. When they spoke, they didn't do it in hushed tones as someone afraid of being heard would. They spoke in normal tones. They ransacked houses and took what they wanted before killing."

Locals also said that they were angered by police inaction after reporting the presence of suspicious men near Silini-Mashambani village, about 3km from Bobo, the day before. Another man had been hacked to death as he was cutting timber at Silini-Mashambani at around 6.30pm. A man with him escaped to raise the alarm, but locals said police claimed they could not then respond as they had 'run out of fuel'. Angered by the rapidly deteriorating state of security in the area, the residents of Hindi held demonstrations on Wednesday, setting tyres on fire along the Hindi road and demanding action from the government.

Write to Christian widow

In eastern coastal Kenya, along the Somali border, Lamu has been beset by Islamist attacks for years. This has instilled fear in regions where Christians are the minority. Only four weeks ago, on 18 August, three Kenyan Christians were hacked to death by Al-Shabaab militants after they refused to recite the Islamic prayer of faith. A fourth Christian - the mentally-challenged older brother of one of the three - was also killed.

Local sources have expressed grave concern for Caroline Riziki, wife of victim Joseph Kasena, who witnessed these events and is said to be severely traumatised. "Open Doors will visit Caroline as soon as is appropriate," said an Open Doors worker. As well as praying for those bereaved by these events, you can write to Caroline and encourage her.

Source: World Watch Monitor: Open Doors

Please pray:

  • God's comfort for the bereaved spouses and families of the victims of these attacks
  • For government officials and police, that justice and peace will be established in this region
  • For God to miraculously intervene in the lives of Al Shabaab militants, transforming hearts and minds.

More News from Kenya:

Find out more about persecution in Kenya.