In a four-hour pre-dawn raid on January 31st, Islamic extremist al Shabaab rebels killed at least four Christians in a coastal Kenyan village. Two were shot, one was beheaded, and another died because his house had been set on fire. There were also surviving victims wounded in the attack. Eyewitnesses say it's clear that the attackers were hunting down Christians.
The rebels, who are fighting government and regional forces in Somalia, regard the northern coastal area of Kenya as Islamic territory. Although this militant group has attacked the area before, local Christians are further alarmed by the recent incident, causing hundreds of them to flee their homes. One church leader in the area encourages these believers to not be cowed. "God has called us to be 'salt' and 'light,' and to lead many to the marvellous light of Christ," he explains.
In another incident, two Christians were killed on December 21st, 2015 when al Shabaab militants stopped a bus that was travelling to the capital of Mandera. Fortunately, they were unsuccessful in their attempts to segregate the Christian passengers from those who were Muslim. This was largely due to several Muslim passengers who, in their efforts to protect the Christians aboard, refused to cooperate with the rebels. One of the Christian passengers, however, was killed while trying to escape; and so was the driver of a separate vehicle after he approached the stopped bus. Witnesses state that the militants killed the other driver when they learned he was a Christian.
Thankfully, the lives of the remaining bus passengers were spared. As the militants had mistakenly thought the second vehicle carried members of Kenya's Defence Forces, their attention was diverted for a period of time -- enabling the bus driver to quickly drive away from the scene of the attack.
It's consoling to know that several of the Muslim bus passengers had placed their own lives at risk in order to save the Christians aboard. Ask God to greatly bless them for protecting their fellow Kenyans in this courageous manner and to enlighten them to the truth of the Gospel. Likewise, may the members of al Shabaab be receptive spiritually so they may turn away from their deeds of darkness and instead walk in the light of our Risen Lord Jesus. Please also uphold the families and friends of those killed in the attacks, asking God to turn their mourning into joy, filling their hearts with the expectant hope of eternal life and the prospect of being reunited with loved ones once again (1 Corinthians 15:51-57).