International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that in early July, al-Shabaab militants led a series of attacks in Kenya's Lamu County. Between July 5 and July 8 2017, militants raided three villages, Pandanguo, Jima, and Poromoko, killing three police officers as well as seven Christian men: Said Mbigo, Matei Mlatia, Peter Mburu, Teresio Munyi, Mwangangi Muneni, Katana Karisa Chai, and Musyoka Maithya.
On July 5, over 200 militants raided Pandanguo village in Lamu County, killing three police officers posted at the Pandanguo police station, looting homes and the local dispensary. On July 8, 15 of the militants returned and attacked the nearby villages of Jima and Poromoko.
According to locals contacted by ICC, the militants went door to door in Jima and Poromoko, killing seven Christian men. Schools in the three villages were closed and Christian families have evacuated to a church in Witu town.
"The attackers have been targeting Christians living in Lamu County especially farmers in the interior areas where small-scale agriculture thrives," Pastor Henry Divayo, head pastor of the church in Witu town, told ICC. "[The militants in Jima] were asking the villagers to produce their identification cards and if you were found to be a Christian you would be shot or slaughtered."
"Victims have been evacuated to camps where food and security is provided by [the] government and the Kenya Red Cross," Divayo said. "We are hosting more than 200 people in our church and we expect the number to increase as more families are evacuated from Boni Forest."
"The government has been in the forefront in giving security to churches but a lot more needs to be done," Divayo continued. "We need more well equipped police officers in churches, schools and hospitals."
Since 2011, Kenya has been aiding the fight against al-Shabaab in Somalia. In retaliation, al-Shabaab and its supporters have targeted Christians across the border in Kenya. On July 5, 2014, al-Shabaab attacked a Hindi village in Lamu which left nine dead. Militants also attacked Garrisa University on April 2, 2015, where 148 Christian students were killed. On June 12, 2016, the Islamic terrorists attacked Mpeketoni, Lamu County, killing 48 who couldn't recite Quaranic verses.
ICC's Regional Manager for Africa, Nathan Johnson, said, "The Kenyan government must provide safety and stability to all of its people. They must end al-Shabaab's reign of terror that has been thriving on the border with Somalia. We pray for the families of the deceased and for peace to come to a region that has seen such violence towards Christians. We hope that Kenya's government can take effective action to rid Kenya of these terrorist actions."
Used with permission by International Christian Concern (ICC). More Christian persecution news can be found at www.persecution.org.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: July 24, 2017