By Jeri Ballard —
The latest terror attack perpetrated by radical Muslims against Christians was thwarted by a group of moderate Muslims in Kenya.
On July 21st, a group of Muslims learned of an imminent terror strike in the war-torn northeastern corner of Mandera County. They responded quickly by evacuating their countrymen — all Christians — from a hospital construction site in Kutulo, officials said.
By the time the arms-toting Muslim fanatics arrived, their targeted victims were not to be found.
“They confronted the gunmen, who proceeded to the site and failed to get what they wanted,” Mohamed Birik told reporters. The attackers “opened fire but no one was injured before they escaped.”
The attempted massacre was led by a jihadist al-Shabaab group rampaging through East Africa. Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen, which has executed prior attacks with success, including Christmas attacks last year that killed 14 in Kenya.
In 2012 they pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda but subsequently fell out with leadership over disagreements about their priorities. In 2014, the terror group was estimated to be 9,000 strong. At present, they have abandoned urban centers but control swaths of rural territory.
The group was formed in Somalia when the Islamic Courts Union was defeated in 2006 by the Somali Transitional Government. They like to stage attacks in Kenya, which is a strong anti-terrorism ally and a largely Christian nation in a Muslim region. Mandera County, a triangular territory that is pinched between Somalia and Ethiopia, is particularly vulnerable to such attacks because of its exposed geographical position.
This is not the first time Muslims have defended Christians in the nation. Dunia Mohamud lost her husband when the bus driver shielded Christians from bullets on a bus in 2014, as reported by Pact World. “It was the saddest and darkest day of my life,” she said of Salah’s heroism.
Such outpourings of human love are to be heralded, says an Open Doors workers.
“This was a show of solidarity from locals,” he said. “Most of the believers who live come from other parts of the country. But they are treated like unwanted outsiders and face a lot of harassment and the continuous threat of targeted al-Shabaab attacks.”
Jeri Ballard studies at the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Santa Monica.