Insecurity in northeast Kenya and the threat from Al-Shabaab has plunged the area into crisis.
The insecurity and the targeting of Christians, living and working in these regions, have not only been adversely affecting the Body of Christ, but has brought social crisis as non-Muslim civil servants refused to return to the area.
St Andrew’s Anglican Church in Mandera has closed down after the congregation lost 11 members in the two recent Al-Shabaab attacks in Mandera. Mandera Governor Mr. Ali Roba have told Kenyan media that, “The recent incidents have greatly affected us. As we speak, 50 health workers have left and 20 hospitals have been closed [in the county].”
“This effect trickled down to Wajir, Garissa and even Lamu where civil servants tendered their resignations last month,” reported an Open Doors worker responsible for communicating the needs of persecuted Christians in Kenya.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) recently published a report in which it says it has testimonies of more than 1 053 teachers describing harrowing persecution at the hands of Muslim students, teachers and parents who derogatorily refer to them as adhome (slaves), nguraro (hard hair) or kafir (unholy), spit on them, assault them and threaten their lives.
Open Doors recently visited with a small group of church leaders and lay leaders (civil servants) from Mandera. “In our contact with Christians who fled Mandera we have noticed that many are traumatised, grieving, angry, and confused because in the two attacks they had all lost a person, or people they knew, worked with or fellowshipped with. The brutal killings of Christians left them devastated and their own faith deeply shaken,” reported the Open Doors worker.
Despite these pressures, there are many Christians who have chosen to return to the region. “Despite all that is going on, we are convinced that the presence of the Church limits and hinders the advance of the [darkness] and so we must stay there and stand strong,” Mandera pastor, Moses, bravely declared. “Things would be much worse if there was no Church in Mandera. But we need the prayer support of our brothers.”
Open Doors continues to support these brave Christians in various ways, and asks Christians to please pray that the Lord may strengthen our brothers and sisters in northeast Kenya through His Spirit so that they would be able to withstand all the pressures. Also pray that they will in faith hold fast to Christ so that they would be able to display Him to all those around them.