Kenya is 80% Christian and 12% Muslim. The country has a constitutional commitment to religious freedom, but Christians in the Muslim-majority coastal areas and north-east, the latter of which is home to many Somali Muslims, are vulnerable to Islamist extremism.
The Somalia-based Islamist group Al Shabaab has declared Kenyan Christians an enemy to be subjugated, converted or eradicated. Al Shabaab began operations in Kenya in 2011 after the Kenyan government sent troops into Somalia to counter terrorist activity.
Numerous bus attacks have been carried out in the north-east near the Somali border with passengers robbed, often murdered. Typically, non-local passengers are singled out, assumed to be Christians. In 2012 Al Shabaab recognised a Kenyan terrorist group, Al Hijra (formerly known as the Muslim Youth Centre or MYC), as its affiliate in the country. Al Hijra is active in the coastal regions.
Al Shabaab’s most notorious action was at Garissa University in 2015 where the group massacred 148 students, mainly Christian. In August 2022 the group declared, “We will continue to concentrate our attacks on Kenyan towns and cities as long as Kenyan forces continue to occupy our Muslim lands.”
Large parts of northern Kenya have been severely affected by drought as, at the time of writing, rains have failed for five consecutive seasons. The drought was declared a national disaster by the Kenyan government in September 2021. Christians in Muslim-majority areas of the north are often excluded by local Muslim leaders from receiving aid given by the authorities because of their faith in Christ.
Pray that violence against Christians in Kenya will end. Ask the Lord to protect vulnerable Christians in Muslim-majority areas and continue to provide for their needs. Pray that rains will return and lead to improved harvests, easing the burden felt by Christians in northern Kenya.