Somalia (MNN) — On September 2, al-Shabab terrorists killed 18 civilians and destroyed several relief trucks in central Somalia. Government forces did not immediately reach the scene.
Al-Shabab has increased attacks over the course of the summer. Throughout the month of August, they killed several Somali soldiers. Simultaneously, they attacked military bases in Kenya, Mali, and Ethiopia.
A brutal attack against a hotel in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, lasted 35 hours and killed 21 people. Afterward, Somalia’s president vowed an offensive against al-Shabab.
Leaders of the al-Shabab terrorist group want to replace al-Qaeda and expand their own reach.
Al-Qaeda has yet to find a new leader after the killing of Ayman al-Zawahiri by the U.S. military in July. If a new leader is not chosen soon, al-Shabab could declare its government in East Africa separate from al-Qaeda. Leaders of the organization also hope to overthrow the government of Somalia itself.
Greg Kelley with World Mission says, “They’re receiving more resources, or just as much, as the government of Somalia through taxation. They force people to pay them, or else they threaten them, bomb their business, kidnap their daughters, or things like that.”
Despite the danger, many people continue to share the story of Jesus in Somalia. World Mission supports them by sending solar-powered audio Bibles in the local language.
Kelley says these are not missionaries from the U.S. or Europe. “These are people that have a Muslim background themselves. They live in close proximity, either in the same culture or a close proximity culture. Think of Kenya, think of Ethiopia. Inside Kenya, there are 2.5 million Somalis. Inside of Ethiopia, there are 7 million Somalis.”
“These people are 99.9 percent Muslim. Most of them have never heard the Gospel message.”
Ask God to strengthen these ministry workers. Pray the love of God will bring healing and hope to Somalia.
The header photo shows al-Shabab fighters after surrendering in 2012. (Photo courtesy of AMISOM Public Information, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons)