At least nine Christians were recently murdered in Kenya for not reciting the Islamic statement of faith, the Shahada.
International Christian Concern (ICC) in an exclusive report said the attack occurred earlier this month when nine Christians who were traveling by bus to Mandera were separated from the other passengers and killed in northeast Kenya. When they would not recite the Islamic creed, the Shahada, they were "paraded out of the bus and shot dead at close range by those believed to be Al-Shabaab militants."
Two passengers are still missing. Local authorities believe they were also killed by the militants.
The names of those confirmed as killed are Athanus Kiti, Enos Odhiambo, Kelvin Mandela, Wisely Meli, Tikane Kasale, Leonard Mukanda, Francis Mbuvi, Rodgers Machuka, and Anchari Okerosi. The two still missing are Emmanuel Barasa and Nathan Bett, according to the ICC.
One rider attributed his survival to a Muslim passenger who tossed him some Somali clothes to put on when the bus was first hijacked. From the look of the clothes, the hijackers assumed he was a Muslim. In August, a group of concerned Muslims thwarted an al-Shabaab terrorist attack on Christian workers at a hospital construction site by warning the Christians to flee, and lives were saved.
"We are deeply saddened to hear of the murders of Kenyan Christians simply going about their day," said Dede Laugesen, executive director of Save the Persecuted Christians. "Muslims must speak out on these seemingly endless, senseless killings of innocent people holding different beliefs than theirs. Freedom of religion or belief is a universal human right that must be protected and promoted by all for the sake of peace and prosperity. This must end, but it won't until Muslims en masse demand an end to violence against others in the name of religion, which is generally successful when it does happen."
Ibrahim Ali Roba, the governor of Mandera commented on the terror attack, saying, "I am deeply saddened to learn of the heinous bus attack near Kotulo, Wajir today around 5:00 p.m. where 10 passengers were killed or are missing. I am informed that the suspected al-Shabaab fighters cowardly segregated non-locals heading to Mandera from Nairobi. It is extremely sad and humanly disturbing to learn that, yet again, they segregated locals from non-locals before killing those they believed to be non-locals."
The attack comes only a month after eight construction workers in Mandera escaped unharmed when the Somali-based militant group al-Shabaab ambushed the workers' van along the Elwak-Kotulo road.
It is common in northeastern Kenya for terrorists to target buses, separate passengers by religious identity, and kill all of the Christians, according to the ICC.
In 2018, Fredrick Ngui Ngonde and Joshua Ooko Obila were killed in a similar manner for declining to recite the Islamic creed along the Garissa Masalani road.
In 2015, 148 students at Garissa University were killed by gunmen while the Muslim students were freed. In the same year, a Muslim teacher, Salah Farah, was shot for defending Christian passengers who were being separated for execution by al-Shabaab.
In 2014, 28 teachers traveling to Nairobi for the Christmas holiday were killed after being forced to recite the Islamic statement of faith.
"We pray for the families of the deceased and for peace to come to a region that has seen increased violence toward Christians who are just trying to survive," said Nathan Johnson, ICC's regional manager for Africa. "We hope that the government will take effective action to stop the senseless killing of so many Christians in Kenya at the hands of Islamic extremists like al-Shabaab. We praise God as the refuge and strong tower that He is for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ who continue to endure so much."
According to Open Doors USA World Watch List, Kenya ranks number 40 in the top 50 countries where it's most dangerous to follow Jesus Christ.