Christians killed in suspected terror attack in Kenya

Christians killed in suspected terror attack in Kenya

Six Christians have been killed by suspected al-Shabaab militants in Kenya.  

According to International Christian Concern, seven houses in a village in Lamu West have been burnt down with one person shot and another beheaded. 

The incident is said to have taken place in the early hours of Monday 3rd January in the coastal village of Widhu.

Church pastor Stephen Sila arrived on the scene following distressed calls from local parishioners, declaring it an "undeniable and awful terrorist attack" as he witnessed dead bodies lying on the ground and houses smoking with fire.

Pastor Stephen gave this account: "I counted seven houses that were torched down, four bodies of people burnt beyond recognition inside the houses. 

"A body shot dead right outside a burnt house and another beheaded body next to it. Other villagers escaped into the dark and the police are still looking for them."

Pastor Stephen says residents have questioned the inaction of local police enforcement who "were not doing enough to protect the Christians from being attacked by the Somali militants."

"There is a standoff now, but more police officers are arriving to pick up the bodies and also evacuate those who need emergency medical attention," he added.

Al-Shabaab, is a Somali-based, jihadist terrorist group that seeks to establish an Islamic state.

According to persecution charity Open Doors, despite Kenya being a predominantly Christian country many believers live under constant threat of persecution and attack by Islamic extremist groups, particularly if they are from a Muslim background. 

A church leader overseeing the Lamu West Africa Inland Churches said the attack confirms that believers are still at risk in the country. He has called on the Kenyan government to do more to protect Christian communities.

"The enemy is still roaming free within our region," he said. 

"We are saddened that six Christians have lost their lives and left their families, and the entire body of Christ is hurting. We call upon the government to heighten its commitment to protecting the people of this great nation of Kenya. We also ask the global body of believers to join hands with us in prayer and material support for the affected families."

The head of the Lamu County police has visited the village and made assurances that security officers are in pursuit of the terrorists. 

"We are working on the issue. We shall share more information soon, but we have cordoned off the area to piece the security information together, as well as go after the perpetrators of this heinous act," he said.

In recent years the extremist group has carried out numerous January attacks. 200 Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers were killed on a peacekeeping mission in Somalia in 2016 while 21 people were killed by the militants at a hotel in Nairobi in 2019. In 2020 the group launched an attack on a Kenyan and US military base in Lamu where three Americans were among those killed.