A Muslim minibus driver saved the lives of his eight Christian passengers in Kenya on 30 October when he refused to obey the orders of Islamist militant hijackers.
Around ten armed Al Shabaab militants attempted to flag down the minibus as it left a construction site in Mandera city but the driver accelerated away. When he did not stop, the militants sprayed bullets at the minibus deflating a tyre.
Mandera County Commissioner, Onesmus Kyatha, said the driver’s “brave” actions “saved the lives of his passengers”. He added, “The driver is a local but most of the passengers were non-locals whom we believe were the target.” The passengers reportedly lay on the floor as they heard the bullets hit the minibus.
In October 2016, twelve Christians were killed in Mandera when Al Shabaab militants attacked a guesthouse. Other atrocities against Christians carried out by Al Shabaab in Kenya included the murder in September 2018 of two Christian passengers on an ambushed bus who refused the jihadists’ demands that they recite the shahada (Islamic creed), and the killing of three Christians in a primary school compound in February 2018.
Al Shabaab is fighting to establish a fully Islamic state in Somalia and neighbouring regions with significant ethnic Somali populations, such as north-east Kenya. The group has carried out numerous attacks in Kenya, and on its Christian residents, since 2011 when the Kenyan government sent troops into Somalia to counter terrorist activity.