A church in Kenya has been forced to close after eleven of its members were executed by militants.
St. Andrews Anglican Church is in Mandera, on Kenya’s border with Somalia. On Tuesday 2 December militants killed 36 quarry workers, nine of whom were members of the church. A week earlier, two church members were among 28 people killed during an attack on a bus on 23 November. Both events were the work of al-Shabaab, the al-Qaeda linked terrorist group based in Somalia.
In both cases, the attackers separated Muslims from non-Muslims. Those who could not recite a Muslim prayer were executed.
“We have closed the church,” church leader Elijah Kinyua told Open Doors. “We will decide later on whether or not to reopen. But for now things are not good on the ground. Please pray for us. Please pray for the Mandera people.”
He said that most of the surviving members had either fled Mandera or joined other non-Muslims in seeking refuge at the Kenya Defense Forces camp.
“It was heartbreaking for me to hear the raw pain in Elijah’s voice,” reported Hadassah, a local Open Doors worker. “His heart is so heavy. He is feeling deep, deep pain and loss.”
Al-Shabaab claim that these attacks were in response to police raids on two mosques in Mombasa. In Mombasa itself, at least three men, including a local pastor, were killed by a mob.
Pastor Joshua Muteti was killed by a machete blow to the back of the head. Fanuel Mogesani, who was injured in the attack, said, “They told me to say their prayer, but since I am a Christian, I could not. That is when I felt something like metal hit my head.”
One of the mosques is just 200m from the Majengo Salvation Army Church. In October 2013 the church was razed to the ground following the murder of a prominent Muslim cleric.
“Please pray with us that we do not suffer any retaliatory attack,” said church leader Major Robert Nzioka. “May God bring His salvation and revival to this area so that the residents can finally know true peace.”
Open Doors supporters sent letters and cards to the church which were delivered only a little while before the latest violence. The letters were handed out after a church service and brought great encouragement to the church. “You have made us proud to be one in Christ with you,” said church member Jeremiah. “We wish to extend our great love and prayers to all who have touched our hearts. God bless you all.”
Source: Open Doors; BBC
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