Juma Nuradin Kamil, a Christian convert from Islam, was kidnapped and later, on Sept 2, found decapitated on the outskirts of Hudur City in Bakool region, in southwestern Somalia. According to Compass News, a source in Mogadishu with ties to Somalia’s underground church, confirmed the murder of Kamil.
On Aug 21 Kamil was forced into a car by three suspected Islamic extremists from the al Shabaab terrorist group. Members of his community thoroughly combed the area looking for him. And finally, on Sept. 2, at 2 pm, Kamil’s body was found, dumped on a street. The kidnapping and subsequent manner of murder suggests that al Shabaab militants had been monitoring him, Christian leaders said.
A Christian who saw Kamil’s body said it bore the marks of an al Shabaab killing, according to a leader in Somalia’s underground church. “It is usual for the al Shabaab to decapitate those they suspect to have embraced the Christian faith, or sympathizers of western ideals,” the leader said. “Our brother Kamil accepted the Christian faith three years ago and was determined in his faith in God. We greatly miss him.” The area Christian community initially did not bury the body out of fear of al Shabaab extremists seeing them associated with a newly discovered convert to Christianity. “The community feared burying him, and his body lay in the open for two days before unknown people buried him secretly,” he said.
Al Shabaab, a militant group with ties to al Qaeda, is a powerful force in Somalia with an estimated membership ranging from 3,000 to 7,000. Al Shabaab was among several splinter groups that emerged after Ethiopian forces removed the Islamic Courts Union, a group of sharia courts, from power in Somalia in 2006. Al Shabaab has been designated a terrorist organization by several western governments.
Muslim extremists from al Shabaab have vowed to rid Somalia of Christianity and seek to impose a strict version of sharia (Islamic law). The transitional government in the capital city of Mogadishu, who is fighting to retain control of the country, treats Christians little better than the al Shabaab extremists do. While proclaiming himself a moderate, President Sheikh Sharif Sheik Ahmed has embraced a version of sharia that mandates the death penalty for those who leave Islam.
Life is fragile for Christians in Somalia. Earlier this year, two Muslim extremists murdered a member of a secret Christian community from the Lower Shabele region. An area source told Compass News that two al Shabaab militants shot 21-year-old Hassan Adawe Adan after entering his house. And, in Warbhigly village, on the outskirts of Mogadishu, a mother of four was killed for her Christian faith on Jan. 7 by Islamic extremists from al Shabaab, a relative said. The relative, who requested anonymity, said Asha Mberwa, 36, was killed when the Islamic extremists cut her throat in front of villagers who came out of their homes as witnesses.
Somalia ranks number 5 on the 2011 Open Doors World Watch List of countries where the persecution of Christians is most severe.
Lord, we pray comfort and hope for the grieving family of Juma Nuradin Kamil who died a martyr’s death for His allegiance to Christ. His body lay on the street for two days following his brutal killing, but You have drawn him into Your presence and he has heard Your loving voice saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Amen