On Monday, a terrorist attack on a bus in Kenya failed when Muslim passengers threw themselves over Christians to shield them from the Islamists’ wrath.
“The Muslims stood with the Christians and dared the attackers to kill them all or leave,” declared Mandera Governor Ali Roba. The bus was traveling from Nairobi to Mandera.
The militants attempted to separate the Muslims from the Christians, but the Muslims refused. Survivors testified that the Muslims dared the terrorists to kill them.
“They refused to separate from non Muslims and told the attackers to kill all passengers or leave. That is why some locals were injured trying to protect non Muslim passengers,” explained Roba.
The attackers left when they heard another bus. Survivor Abdirashid Adan told The Nation his story:
“We were forced to stop after they shot at our bus. One of the bullets injured me in the buttocks. We alighted but one person attempted to run away and was shot dead,” Mr Adan said.
He went on: “As the attackers started separating passengers according to their religions, we heard the sound of an oncoming lorry. They all ran back into the bush thinking it was police. After realizing it was not police, they stopped the lorry as we dashed back into the bus and sped off.”
The assailants killed two people and injured three others.
“Initial reports indicate two people have died and three injured,” said Deputy County Commissioner Julius Otieno. “Those injured are the driver of the bus and two passengers. The militants fled after the attack. Our team is tracking the attackers.”
A chief, who remained anonymous, said the terrorist group “killed another person said to be a traffic police officer based in Elwak.”
The chief claimed al-Shabaab moved into Mandera South on December 15. Elders from Wargadud gave the terrorists a 36 hour ultimatum to leave. If al-Shabaab remains, the chief advised the publication “that locals may be forced to arm themselves” for protection against the terrorists.
“We have reported this to the government but no action has been taken even as the militants continue to terrorise locals,” he said.
No one has taken responsibility for the attack, but al-Shabaab has a history of separating Christians from Muslims in their attacks. In April, al-Shabaab terrorists killed 148 and injured 104 at Garissa University. Witnesses heard the terrorists demand the students recite the Koran and slaughtered anyone who identified as a Christian.
In June, al-Shabaab militants captured a village nine miles from a military base and taxed the population.
Al-Shabaab is a Somali jihadist group with traditional ties to Al Qaeda, though a rogue faction of the group is now said to pledge allegiance to Islamic State caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.