Al-Shabaab Orders All Christians to Leave Northeastern Kenya

Al-Shabaab is al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Somalia and operates primarily out of the country’s southern and central regions in this undated file photo. | Photo: Reuters

The Somalia-based al-Qaeda-linked group al-Shabaab has “ordered” Christians to leave three counties in northeastern Kenya to allow local Muslims to get all local jobs, according to the U.S.-based persecution watchdog International Christian Concern.

“Muslim teachers, doctors, engineers, and young graduates from the northeastern province are unemployed. Isn’t it better to give them a chance? There is no need for the presence of disbelievers,” al-Shabaab’s spokesman, Sheikh Ali Dhere, said in an audio clip posted online, referring to the counties of Garissa, Wajir and Mandera.

In the 20-minute clip, the spokesman urged Somali-Kenyans to drive all non-Muslims out if they do not leave on their own.

The majority of the people living in the three counties are Somalis, who fled to Kenya due to war and violence in Somalia.

“This is not news at all because the conduct of the local people here has always suggested that they want us to leave,” the Rev. Cosmas Mwinzi of the Assemblies of God in Garissa was quoted as saying. “This region has been unstable for years due to war in Somalia and hatred against non-locals who are mostly Christians. The levels of education and infrastructure in the three counties are low and it is only through the expertise and hard work of the non-locals that the living standard of the Somali people in Kenya can improve. We have non-locals in all sectors, from health to education.”

In January, three Christian teachers were murdered in the town of Kamuthe in Garissa County during an attack on a primary school believed to have been carried out by al-Shabaab. As a result, many non-local teachers were already being transferred to other schools outside northeastern Kenya, or teachers themselves were requesting transfers.

“This release is terrible news for Christians living and working in eastern Kenya,” Nathan Johnson, ICC’s regional manager for Africa, said. “They already live with increased fear and anxiety, as many have had to travel to find work. Now with this threat, it is clear that al-Shabaab will be increasing attacks on Christians who are simply trying to provide for their families.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Anugrah Kumar