Three Christian teachers have been killed in a vicious attack by Islamic militants.
The trio of educators, based at Kamuthe Primary School in Garissa, Kenya, were set upon by a group of jihadis in the early hours of Monday morning.
According to Christian persecution watchdog International Christian Concern, the Al-Shabaab militants attacked the school resource center, where the teachers were housed. Prior to the attack, the attackers destroyed the surrounding telecommunication systems so that their victims would not be able to call for help.
“My fellow teachers were fatally shot by an unknown number of suspected al-Shabaab militia who stormed Kamuthe primary school early this morning and leaving one severely injured by two gunshots,” a local teacher, Robert Kibutu, confirmed to ICC. “We are sad and at the same time scared because we are targeted for being non-local government workers that belong to the Christian faith.”
The victims in the attack were identified as Caleb Mutua, Titus Ushindi, and Samuel Muthui Kyonzu. Another man, Joshua Mutua, survived but sustained serious leg injuries.
Joseph Odhiambo, Director of missionary organization “Harvest of Hope Africa,” told Faithwire that the militants have started specifically targeting educators in a bid to instill a fear that will drive other teachers away from the region. Through ridding the area of educational opportunities, the group hopes that the younger generation will remain ignorant to the threat of Islamic extremism.
“Al Shabab Islamists are trying to destabilize education in northeastern Kenya by targeting non-resident teaching staff,” Odhiambo said. “But our God will prevail.”
ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, Nathan Johnson, released a statement urging prayer for the grieving families.
“We pray for the families of the deceased and for peace to come to a region that has seen increased violence toward Christians who are just trying to survive,” Johnson said.
“We hope that the government will take effective action to stop the senseless killing of so many Christians in Kenya at the hands of Islamic extremists like al-Shabaab. We praise God as the refuge and strong tower that He is for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ who continue to endure so much.”
Over the last month or so, Al-Shabaab has been ramping up operations across Kenya. Earlier this week, the jihadist group stormed a military base in the country’s coastal Lamu region, killing three US citizens and destroying several aircraft and military vehicles.
In a statement, the Kenyan Defence Forces (KDF) explained how “an attempt was made to breach security at Manda Air Strip” and that four militants were killed in an exchange of gunfire. Al-Shabaab claimed to have killed nine Kenyan soldiers injured 17 US soldiers.
The US military confirmed later confirmed that three Americans had been killed during the attack — a service member and two civilian defense contractors.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of our teammates who lost their lives today,” the head of US Africa Command (Africom), General Stephen Townsend, said in a statement.
“As we honour their sacrifice, let’s also harden our resolve,” he added, according to the BBC. “Alongside our African and international partners, we will pursue those responsible for this attack and al-Shabab, who seek to harm Americans and US interests.”
News agency France 24 reported that three other US Department of Defence personnel were also killed in the attack.
Al-Shabaab is linked to al-Qaeda and is based predominantly in neighboring Somalia. In December, the group detonated a bomb in the Somalian capital of Mogadishu, claiming the lives of some 80 people.
Kenyan security forces have warned that more attacks may be imminent, as the country marks the attack in El Adde, Somalia, on January 15, 2016, and the assault on the DusitD2 hotel complex on January 15, 2019. The terror group often commemorates anniversaries by carrying out more attacks.