The bus was traveling from the Kenyan cities of Wajir and Mandera near the Somalian border—an area mostly inhabited by ethnic Somali Kenyans.
“People, among them police officers, were brutally murdered,” Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s office said in a statement.
Amani*, an Open Doors team leader in the field, reported that one of Open Doors’ local ministry partners called after the attack.
“They have attacked us again as usual,” the partner said.
Sadly, Christians have come to expect violent attacks like this as they head into holiday seasons, such as Christmas or Easter, Amani explained. While media outlets have been slow to specifically say Christians were targeted in this attack, Amani offers perspective from being on the ground in Kenya.
“It would be correct to interpret this attack as another attempt to deplete the Christian presence in this Muslim-dominated area of Kenya,” Amani said. “Christians feel marginalized here, and attacks like these cause hyper-vigilance among them. They also force secret believers underground for some time.”
The Dec. 7 attack mirrors countless others involving Islamic extremists that have hijacked a bus full of passengers, and then singled out Christians for execution or kidnapping. In late September 2018, al Shabaab killed two people for failing to recite the Islamic statement of faith when militants, believed to have been al Shabaab, attacked their bus in eastern Kenya.
Specifically inspired by Islamic radicals in Somalia, Muslim politicians have made it their agenda to eliminate Christianity in Kenya—No. 40 on the World Watch List. Officials often demand churches do things that are not in line with their faith, while militants viciously carry out suicide bomb attacks and other brutal acts of Christian persecution against those considered to be the enemies of Islam. Reportedly, al-Shabaab has infiltrated some locals to spy on Christians.
Please be in prayer for the families of the victims. Pray that the Lord will be at work in their lives and use this attack to draw them closer to Him. Pray for comfort, provision and protection, especially during this time of year.
Says Amani: “We deeply appreciate your prayers for the believers in this area.”