Christians in Kenya seek protection from terror threat

0
48

In Lamu West Sub County, a tragic incident unfolded on Saturday night as suspected al-Shabab terrorists attacked Marafa and Poromoko

Poromoko and Marafa villages attacked by Islamic militia leaving a trail of destruction and loss of life (ICC)

villages, resulting in the loss of one life and the destruction of nine homes.  

According to eyewitnesses in Marafa, the heavily armed assailants fatally shot their victim, prompting residents to call for enhanced government security measures. The authorities say they are committed to protecting the community and are investigating.

“We are asking the residents of Marafa and Poromoko to remain calm and vigilant as we work round the clock to restore order and enhance security,” said authorities. “Our forces are in hot pursuit for the attackers, and we hope to bring them to book immediately.”  

Francis Mwai, the brother-in-law of the deceased, expressed deep concern over the prevailing security situation.  

“The security in this area is highly alarming,” said Mwai. “Despite immediate police notification after the incident began at 7 pm yesterday, lives were lost, and properties were destroyed. When the Minister for Internal Security comes to check the situation of insecurity, instead of him going to the affected area, he goes to the security camp and the adjacent areas where there are no reported security issues. He should visit the actual scenes and get to see and feel what we feel.” 

Another resident, Daniel, shared the devastating impact from the attack, saying, “All of his goats and chickens were slaughtered, his house reduced to ashes, along with three motorbikes and other valuable possessions. The destruction is comprehensive, leaving nearly nothing of significance behind.” 

Expressing dissatisfaction with the treatment of Christian men in the community, resident Virginia Mwangi said, “These perpetrators seem to possess numerous knowledge about our community, identifying inhabited homesteads and discerning the presence or absence of men. Such familiarity undermines our ability to live in peace, particularly with the men in our community.” 

These recent attacks come after a month of calm since the last attack in October 2023 where lives were lost, and homes set on fire. Christians in Lamu West endured a spree of religiously motivated terror activities from June 2023 forcing thousands to flee their homes and seek shelter in IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camps.  

Local government leaders have been urging the security ministry to move with speed to protect the Christian community and apprehend the culprits. Earlier this month, a Lamu member of parliament sought clarification from the ministry on “whether the frequent terror attacks and killings in Widho, Salama, Juhudi, Witu and Marafa in Lamu County are aimed at specific sections of the community or certain religious groups.” 

The Lamu church is also dissatisfied by the efforts done to curb the persistent terror attacks and religious discrimination perpetuated by the al-Shabab and the radical Islam adherents. 

“Christians have suffered for years under terrorism coming from the Somali-based al-Shabab group that has made Lamu their operation base. Together with their collaborators that live amongst us, we have experienced all manner of discrimination, and we live in fear, at home, in churches and while traveling. The government has not done enough to ensure that all residents are safe and can exercise their right of worship.” said one church leader. ICC Field Staff