Kenya (MNN) — Christians in northern Kenya face a dual threat of the coronavirus and a terrorist organization demanding that they leave.
It can seem like the world has stopped in its tracks the last few weeks, but that is not the case. In Kenya, terrorist group Al-Shabaab has demanded that Christians leave three northern provinces.
Greg Musselman of Voice of the Martyrs Canada says we can’t forget about our brothers and sisters in Kenya who are suffering. He says, “Al-Shabaab [has] of course lost ground in Somalia, which is where they come from, so they’re hitting other Eastern African areas like Kenya and Ethiopia. And the sad part is that the Somalis that have gone to Kenya are trying to flee groups like Al-Shabaab.”
Christians in Kenya help these people by setting up schools and access to medicine, But Al-Shabaab doesn’t want that to happen. They even incited these refugees from Somalia against the Christians and other teachers and workers. The terrorist group claims these people are taking the jobs of Muslims.
But ironically, the absence of teachers will hurt the economy of the region. Musselman says, “Again, this is the kind of situations that Christians are facing every day, along with some of the issues with the virus as well.”
The looming threats
“These guys are not that patient,” Musselman says. “They will want to act on it. We are hearing some things that are going on in the area, [and] it’s making the people nervous.”
Meanwhile, the spread of COVID-19 hasn’t been as severe in Africa, and Musselman guesses that many Christians may still meet together to celebrate Christ’s death and resurrection. He says, “I would suggest that they need to take the same care (and I’m sure they will) each year because Easter and Christmas are the times when groups like Al Shabaab, Al Qaeda, and Boko Haram in Nigeria, often target Christians because they know that they’re gathered together.”
Musselman says in order to avoid the virus and terrorist groups, it may be wiser if Christians gather in smaller groups on these holy days.
We can’t forget about Christians around the world
Christians in the West are dealing with one of those two issues, but Musselman says we can’t forget about our brothers and sisters during the pandemic. “I get it, I understand, because the corona virus impacts us directly. But there are still people that are suffering for their faith.”
Pray for non-local workers in Kenya threatened by this radio message to have courage and wisdom to know when to take a step back.
Pray that the Muslims in Kenya would not succumb to the fear being spread by Al-Shabaab and would not turn on the Christians workers. Pray that the Kenyan government would protect their people and diffuse the situation.
Pray also for VOMC and other ministries who find themselves severely hampered in how they can help due to the coronavirus.
Tana River in Kenya near Somalia. (Header image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)