Three Kenyan Christians were killed by Al-Shabaab militants on Friday night, August 18, after they refused to recite the Islamic prayer of faith. A fourth Christian—the mentally challenged older brother of one of the three—was also killed.
At around 9pm, Changawa Muthemba, who was in his forties, was dragged out of his home in Kasala Kairu, Lamu County, by a group of equipped men and taken to the nearby home of his brother-in-law, Joseph Kasena, 42, where a 17-year-old neighbor, Kadenge Katana, also happened to be at the time.
The three men were held at machete point and requested to present the Shahada. At the point when none of them did, the militants started to tie them up. At the point when the men opposed, they were hacked to death. At that point the militants went to the home of Joseph’s older brother, Charo who was in his late forties and murdered him.
According to a local source Joseph’s wife, Caroline, who is in her late thirties, watched everything happen and is “severely traumatized”. Their 17-year-old daughter, Zawadi, was out of town at the time.
“Joseph was an elder at a local church. He did communal farming, worked as a cook in a local hotel and also served as a night guard at the home of an expatriate family, who had to leave the area due to the deteriorating security situation. His wife runs a small kiosk,” said the source.
The source said the family of the 17-year-old kid, who was part of a local Catholic church, is “crushed” at his murder.
As indicated by the source, Al-Shabaab militants and their sympathizers are “profoundly installed” in the nearby groups of more extensive Lamu and Tana, which are in seaside Kenya, close to the outskirt with Somalia where Al-Shabaab started.
“They move around freely and often are at odds with the Kenyan farmers, deliberately sending their animals to feed on their crops,” the source said. “Locals complain that the police are not doing anything about the situation and even show preferential treatment to the herders. Earlier that day, some locals met with the Somali herdsmen, who threatened them. But this was not the reason for the attack; it only provided the opportunity for it. Al-Shabaab knew these men as Christians, and Joseph as a church elder.”
A month ago, Al-Shabaab decapitated nine Kenyans—some of whom had a place with a local church—in the Pandaguo region of Lamu West. One witness, Johnson Kitsao, told the Washington Post the assailants were “particularly searching for non-Muslim men.”
Al-Shabaab had undermined to disturb the Kenyan decisions not long ago and had approached Muslims to vote against the Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta. Be that as it may, the voting procedure “went smoothly,” according to CSW, “and Kenyatta’s party won all of the predominantly Somali counties, as well as the presidency.”
Al-Shabaab, an affiliate of Al-Qaeda, has targeted Kenyan Christians for years, attacking churches, public places and buses. This has left behind a trail of pain and destruction and has instilled fear among regions where Christians are the minority.