KENYA – Latest terrorist attack intended to drive out Christians from the region
A radio station run by the militant Islamist group al-Shabab is claiming that the latest terrorist attack on Christians in northeast Kenya was a deliberate attempt to drive them out of the region. The group claimed that its forces were responsible for a grenade and gun assault on a residential block in the town of Mandera, while the residents were asleep. Six people died in the attack. A spokesman for the group said the attack was aimed at Christians because al-Shabab wanted all non-Muslims to leave areas it regards as Muslim.
Mandera County commissioner Fredrick Shiswa said militants also attacked a telecommunications site and that this was a diversion from the attack on the Christian neighborhood. Shiswa commented that the attack was carried out efficiently and appeared to have been planned over a long period.
A previous attack in April 2015 by al-Shabab which killed 148 people at Kenya’s Garissa University College was also said to be targeting Christians. There have also been other attacks against Christians on a bus in Mandera and in coastal villages.
Mandera is close to the border with Somalia where the al-Shabab group, which is affiliated to al-Qaeda, is based. Many of the town’s Christians are skilled workers from other parts of Kenya who work in hospitals and schools. Moderate Muslims who are not aligned with al-Shabab have sought to strengthen relations with Christians.
Al-Shabab militants have been carrying out attacks against Kenya since the Kenyan military entered Somalia in 2011 to fight the group. Kenyan troops form part of the African Union forces in Somalia to counter Al-Shabab.