Kenya: Muslim Terrorists Strike Churches
By Rae Burnett, Africa Director for Christian Aid Mission
I have spent years traveling throughout Kenya to personally see the work of native missionaries laboring in the remotest outreaches of the desert and jungles. The one exception is Garissa and beyond to the border of Somalia. Even 15 years ago, ministry leaders would not allow me to go because of extreme danger. Though risky for them as well, as a white person I would be an easy target, and they were all certain I would be killed or kidnapped.
Because of extreme political instability and drought, Kenya has had to deal with the influx of tens of thousands of Somalia refugees. Native missionaries like Gabriel shown here, take the opportunity to witness to them. Thousands live in such makeshift "homes."
That was even before the Islamic terrorist group al-Shabaab came into prominence. Arabic for "The Youth" or "The Boys," al-Shabaab is the Somalia-based cell of al-Qaeda now wreaking havoc in Kenya through murderous attacks on churches and secular entertainment venues as well as the kidnapping and murder of aid workers.
Seventeen people were killed Sunday in Garissa as terrorists threw grenades threw into two churches and opened fire.
Two ministries sent me the following firsthand reports.
Dear Sister Rae,
Greetings and grace to you in Jesus name. I am sending this quick report with heavy heart at the attack and killings of 17 people inside the church at Garissa, which you know well. Our missionary, Brother Joseph Hassan was one of the victims. He had a wife and 3 young children.
Material help is given to them as well as to impoverished local villagers when missionaries are able. A sack of corn, rice, or beans costs $35.
This is big blow to our ministry vision and our outreaches among the Muslims in the northern frontiers of Kenya. We are so much concerned at the trend of constant attacks on the churches in Kenya by al Shabaab terror group. I was planning another outreach in that area. So many of them have never been reached with the gospel.
We are praying and planning to evacuate the wife and her children for sometime till the situation improves. Please pray for our security. Any help extended to this family will be appreciated as we move in to assist.
Blessings to you as you pray and stand with us in Kenya at this critical times in the church and in our country.
In Him, Your Friend Joshua
Dear Sis Burnett
Most of our churches in Northern Kenya have closed down due attacks by the al Shabaab terrorists. The most affected areas are Wajir, Modogashe, Liboi, Garbatulla, Merti, Turbi, parts of Marsabit and some parts of Isiolo where you have spent so much time with the Samburu believers. Most Christians had to evacuate to safer areas. Missionaries and pastors who have been serving there had to relocate.
It has been a challenge even to visit those areas as the cost of hiring police escorts is high. Yesterday's attack was in the middle of Garissa town where 2 churches were attacked. Police who were guarding were also killed. Of course, women and children were wounded.
Grateful villagers return home with sacks of rice lovingly given by native missionaries.
Last time we had an open air meeting there, Muslim children were sent to throw stones to us so that we can react, but we had to ignore. Currently it's very hard to work on those areas. In May our land rover was attacked as it was coming from Garbatulla but none was injured only radiator was damaged and driver managed to speed.
We need to pray for our government to be able to bring security in those areas. We have been talking with the government officials concerning the problem. They are not doing much as they lack personnel and vehicles. We have advised our pastors to minimize their activities in most volatile regions.
Thanks and God Bless you,