Islamic insurgents murder 48 in attacks against Christians and World Cup

The Al-Shabaab war flag.

The al-Shabaab war flag.

Kenya (MNN) — Al-Shabaab militants are behind another violent attack over the weekend. Kenyan authorities are investigating the event. It is the most brutal assault since Westgate last September.

Todd Nettleton of Voice of the Martyrs describes the chaos that ensued when nearly 30 men arrived in two minibuses. “Gunmen went through the village shooting in the air, shooting different people.”

The attack took place near an area of recent insurgent activity.

Fox News reports that Somalia’s al-Shabaab Islamic insurgents have claimed responsibility for the murders of 48 men.

Nettleton reveals more disturbing news saying, “There are confirmed reports from witnesses that there was a religious element to this: that victims were asked about Islam.

“They were asked to prove that they were Muslim, and they were asked if they spoke the Somali language. So there was an ethnic element to this; there was a Christian persecution element to this.”

According to Reuters, the men were murdered in a coastal town while watching the World Cup in a television hall. Only men were killed. Two hotels, a police station, and a bank were also targeted by gunmen. Two policemen were among the dead.

Nettleton indicates that this kind of violence is not a surprise after the Westgate attack.

“There was a promise at that time that there will be more–there will be more of these attacks. And this does seem to draw directly from that methodology: coming in quickly, asking people to prove their religious affiliation, and then killing those who are not Muslims–very similar to the Westgate attack,” he says.

Nettleton believes that al-Shabaab is trying to critique western culture through these attacks. They don’t want people to participate in anything that refers to the west, even if it’s simply watching an international event on television.

Reuters notes a similar incidence in Uganda in 2010. The lives of 77 people were taken when al-Shabaab bombed crowds watching the World Cup on television.

Both countries have troops in Somalia.

The attacks, which are becoming more frequent and moving across the country, are hurting the country’s tourist industry. But it’s affecting more than that.

Kenya, which is largely Christian, is becoming increasingly dangerous for those wanting to spread the Gospel. It is no longer a safe evangelical hub for surrounding countries.

Nettleton says this won’t necessarily change the work that missionaries are doing. However, they must be more aware of the dangers and careful in their operations.

“We should pray for a sense of encouragement and even a sense of boldness among the believers in Kenya–that they will stand strong and that they will stand tall and make visible their stand for righteousness, their stand for godly principles.”

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