Somalia (MNN) — Somalia's al-Shabaab Islamists appear to be moving north following two serious attacks this month.
Last week, a bomb went off in the National Theater in Mogadishu, killing at least ten people, according to the Associated Press. On Monday, another bomb detonated outside a butcher shop, killing at least 12, Reuters reports. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for both atrocities.
Despite what al-Shabaab would likely deem successes, recent reports confirm that al-Shabaab militants are moving north to semi-autonomous Puntland. Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali told the Associated Press the terrorist group was moving because "they are weakened."
But Puntland president Abdirahman Farole told BBC News that al-Shabaab is only moving to strengthen their ties with al-Qaeda in Yemen. In fact, correspondents believe the move could be time for al-Shabaab to regroup and rebuild.
Somalia ranks #4 on the World Watch List for the persecuted church. The ongoing unrest mixed with recent famine has caused droves of Somalis to flee the country to nearby Kenya. With two bombings already in April, accompanied by a possible strengthening of al-Shabaab, more are certainly fleeing now.
Medical Teams International serves the refugees who flee to Kenya with much-needed medical assistance. Although many refugees returned to Somalia when the drought ended, thousands have stayed behind for fear of the violence.
"We have been sending mobile medical teams there for the past year or so, and these teams consist of volunteers in partnership with World Concern staff," says Medical Teams International president Bas Vanderzalm. "We are providing medical care to these families."
Medical needs range from sick patients to delivering mothers. "Really, it's the only resource available to most people who are sick," says Vanderzalm.
Medical Teams International works with the local authorities as well, but a Christian organization providing the bulk of medical care for these lost, scared, and desperate people is significant.
"It's been a witness and testimony to the love of God in this very difficult place where many people may not know Christ," Vanderzalm explains. "When we come, that's our mission: demonstrating the love of Christ to those who are suffering."
The ministry plans to continue for months to send teams of doctors and nurses who have volunteered three weeks of time to help in Kenya. If you're interested in going or in supporting this work, visit www.medicalteams.org.