On 15 June 2014, twin attacks by Al-Shabaab on Mpeketoni left 52 people dead. The attackers killed all who could not recite Muslim prayers, before destroy-ing their homes. A group of around 30 heavily armed men in military gear, suspected to be Al-Shabaab militants, killed three men in Lamu West, near Hindi, at about 1.30 am on September 6.
In eastern coastal Kenya, along the Somali border, Lamu has been beset by Islamist attacks for years. This has instilled fear in regions where Christians are the minority. Wednesday’s attackers, armed with AK-47 rifles, surrounded homes in Bobo village and called out the names of the non-Muslim men, according to local sources.
When the men came out, the assailants ordered them to show their ID cards, before beheading them. The three victims were all Christians.
Gerald Wanjohi was one victim; his wife Catherine climbed onto the roof when the attackers broke down their door. “They were speaking in Somali and broken Swahili,” she testified. Al-Shabaab has targeted Kenyan Christians for years, attacking churches, public places and buses.
On 18 August, three Kenyan Christians were hacked to death by Al-Shabaab militants after they refused to recite the Islamic prayer of faith. A fourth Christian – the mentally challenged older brother of one of the three – was also killed.
In July, the radical Islamist group beheaded nine Kenyans – some of whom belonged to a local church – in the Pandaguo area of Lamu West. This practice appears to be a change of strategy for the group, which has used Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), guns and grenades in the past to attack Kenyan Christians.
As World Watch Monitor reported last month, Al-Shabaab has set up bases in Boni, a forest that straddles the Kenyan-Somali border. The group has been using the forest as a cover to attack villages on the Kenyan side, according to security sources.