“The locals showed a sense of patriotism and belonging to each other”, said Roba, the county governor, explaining that the passengers insisted that al-Shabab either “kill them together or leave them alone”. During an April attack at the Garissa University College in Garissa, Kenya, militants killed 148, asking many their religion before opening fire.
Local governor Ali Roba, speaking to Kenyan newspaper Daily Nation, praised his constituents for risking their own lives to protect their neighbors. This momentary opening gave the passengers the chance to run back onto the bus and speed away. Kenya has been hit by a string of attacks this year by the Somali-led Shebab, Al-Qaeda’s East Africa branch.
In a show of unity, a group of Kenyan Muslims on a bus stood up to terrorists who announced their intention to kill Christians. In November previous year, the group claimed responsibility for the killing of 28 people, also on a bus in Mandera.
Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military spokesman, said the group was responsible.
Somali Islamist fighters attacked a bus, killing two people on Monday, but according to reports, some Muslims on the bus refused to help the attackers identify Christians. And after the gang had abandoned the bus to proceed with their journey, they attacked another lorry that was trailing few kilometres from the scene and killed one person. In this particular case, passengers were ordered out of the bus and those who could not recite Islamic creeds were separated from the rest and shot dead.
“Some of the Christian enemies died and others were injured”, he told Reuters in a statement. The Muslims then refused to separate from the Christians as demanded by the gunmen.
Nkaissery said the terrorists were able to carry out the attack, in part, due to a police escort vehicle that broke down. During the attack, the militants reportedly singled out Christians.
Kenya’s long north-eastern border with Somalia is widely considered a security weak spot.
The group, which aims to make Somalia a fundamental Islamic state, say the attacks are in retaliation for Kenya’s participation in the African Union peacekeeping efforts in the war-torn country.