Kenya (MNN) – Al-Shabab is believed to be behind the murder of three Christian school teachers in eastern Kenya. The attack took place in the early hours of January 13th and has rattled the community.
The attackers entered the rooms of the residential school’s staff while they were sleeping, says Greg Musselman of Voice of the Martyrs Canada. One teacher was able to escape via a window and described what occurred.
The local Somali Muslim teachers were separated from non-locals, who were assumed to be Christians and had been attending a local church. The three Christian men were then shot. One additional staff member was injured and a Muslim teacher was abducted. These attackers appeared not to target the female staff.
“One of the attackers reportedly said that ‘we cannot allow infidels to teach our children,’” Musselman says “…They didn’t want the ideology from what they think is the West because they link Christianity with the West. Of course we know that’s not true.”
The names of the three believers killed were not initially released out of fear of retribution, and the school has been closed. Read more here.
Al-Shabab in Kenya
Though Al-Shabab is primarily a Somali-based group, militants have long carried out attacks in neighboring countries. Kenya has been a major target for attacks. Notably Garissa University in 2015 and the Westgate mall in 2013. The Kenyan government is part of a regional coalition against the militant group, and violence in the region has escalated since December of 2019. Read more here.
Mixed Believer Response
The ongoing pressure is making gospel outreach difficult for believers and creates a climate of fear, Musselman says. Churches are being very cautions and some are even closing. Other schools in the region have closed. Almost 100 along the Somali border are operating without a teacher, relying on a headmaster instead.
“In a sense, Al Shabaab is…getting their agenda out there. Their… desire to stop the spread of the gospel and again, that’s a part of it. They see people leaving Islam, and they want to try to clamp down on that and stop that,” Musselman says.
The response among believers has varied. Some refuse to flee and remain where God has called them. Others leave the region and some even convert or pretend to convert to Islam.
“It strengthens the faith of many. Others it causes fear depending on where they are in their relationship and maturity and can cause them to even walk away if they don’t have a proper understanding,” he says.
This persecution is occurring around Africa and for some Believers, the first time.
What can I do?
Musselman asks believers around the world to pray for Kenyan believers. Pray for their strength of faith in the face of this persecution. Ask that they would grow in spiritual maturity in response to this pressure. Pray for their safety and the safety of their friends and families and the safety of the Kenyan people.
Finally Musselman asks believers to pray for Al-Shabab. “Jesus told us to love our enemies. And that includes Al-Shabaab,” he says. Many members are pulled into the militant group against their will or as a last resort in countries with unstable governments and little opportunity. Pray they will experience a softening towards the gospel.