Christians in northeastern Kenya face continual persecution by Al Qaeda affiliate Al-Shabaab. The Somalian based terrorist group advised Christians to leave three counties – Garissa, Wajir and Mandera for “local Muslims to get all local jobs.”
Al-Shabaab spokesperson, Sheikh Ali Dhere shared that, “Muslim teachers, doctors, engineers, and young graduates from the northeastern province are unemployed. Isn’t it better to give them a chance? There is no need for the presence of disbelievers”, in a 20-minute audio clip posted online. Additionally, Somali-Kenyans were implored by Sheikh Ali Dhere, “to drive all non-Muslims out if they do not leave on their own.”
The Christian Post reports that the three counties are mainly comprised of people who have retreated from Somalia to Kenya due to violent conflict in Somalia. Al-Shabaab has long desired to overthrow the Somalian government and has attacked Kenya for dispatching troops against them.
Assemblies of God Rev. Cosmas Mwinz addresses the “hatred against non-locals who are mostly Christians.” However, he stresses the necessity of non-locals whose “expertise and hard work” contributes to the improvement of the low levels of education and infrastructure in the three counties. Yet the local people’s conduct shows their anti-Christian intolerance.
Additional cases of persecution include the murders of three Christian teachers back by Al- Shabaab back in January. The attack was carried out at a primary school in Gamuthe, a town in Garissa County. Persecution.org reports that non-local teachers are either being transferred or requesting transfers to schools away from northeastern Kenya.
Christian teacher, Mr. Fredrick Kitonya, shared with International Christian Concern (ICC)
of his awaiting transference. “I left my work station in January and I was among the first bunch of teachers to present themselves to the Teachers Service Commission requesting for transfers. I have not been given a new posting letter yet and if I do not get it, I will not return to Garissa. I am ready for interdiction,” he said.
Back on February 19th, a bus attack was carried out by Al-Shabaab that killed 2 Christians for not reciting the Islamic declaration of faith. Included in the attack was one Muslim for trying to protect the Christians. The bus was shot at by militants in police uniform, in which the bus went into a ditch after its back tires were flattened. The bus driver and 2 others were injured.
The Kenyan government has yet to comment on the audio clip, while a security alert raised by the US Embassy in Kenya was made for “a suspected hotel attack targeting tourists, locals, and business travelers.”
The Open Doors USA’s 2020 World Watch List ranks Kenya, “as the 44th worst country in the world when it comes to Christian persecution.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Oleksii Liskonih
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.