“We are brothers,” were the words of Salah Farah in the wake of being shot by suspected members of terrorist group al-Shabab near Mandera, Kenya, after he defiantly refused to split into separate groups of Muslims and Christians when their commuter bus was hijacked in December, 2015, as reported by Voice of America. The hijackers told the Muslims that they were safe as long as they complied.
Salah Farah has now succumbed to his wounds.
“We asked them to kill all of us or leave us alone,” the Muslim man was said to have stated. The militants were reported to have eventually fled, said to fear reprisals from those who lived nearby, but not before killing two people and shooting Farah and two others. A “bounty” of eight million Kenyan shillings (just over $78,000) has reported to have been offered for information about the four al-Shabab suspects.
After Farah was shot standing in solidarity with Christians, he was transported to Nairobi and treated at the Kenyatta National Hospital. Originally, it was thought that he would have been able to return home by January 7. Tragically, he died on Sunday, January 17, after “bleeding profusely.” Doctors were said to have been pleased with Farah’s progress, but things turned worse over the weekend. The Kenyan man was said to have been in “deep pain.”
Salah Farah’s body was flown to Madera at the request of his family, according to The Star. The Kenyan newspaper described the Muslim man as a “hero.” An Islamic burial service was reported to be planned at the Langata cemetery.
The father of five was reported to work at the Mandera County Primary School as deputy headmaster. Farah also studied at the Maasai Mara University, as reported by The Star.
“We hoped to save his life so he can live as a testimony and a teacher of being a brother’s keeper,” Cleopa Mailu, a Kenyan Ministry of Health cabinet secretary was quoted. “The hospital did its best, but unfortunately the brave soul succumbed to complications from the injuries on Sunday night. We share our sorrows, and pray for the strength to the family so as they can bear with loss.”
Al-Shabab is described as being an al-Qaeda affiliate by the National Counter Terrorism Center. Leaders of al-Shabab are said to be suspected to have trained and fought in Afghanistan. The terrorist group was reported to have first taken control of southern Somalia in 2006 and to have “merged” with al-Qaeda in 2012. The group is active in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda.
Leaders of al-Shabab have claimed responsibility for numerous bombings and other attacks resulting in the deaths of hundreds of innocent people, including the July 2010 double suicide bombings in Kampala, Uganda, and the Westgate Mall attacks in September, 2013.
Rashid Farah, Salah’s brother, asked the international community to remember the teacher’s family. He had five children and was described as the family’s “only breadwinner.” Rashid also stated that his brother’s death could serve as an example to other Kenyans to “live as one community” and help spread “religious harmony” in the country.
Kenyan military bases have come under heavy attack from al-Shabab militants over the past months. On Friday, “80 to 100” Kenyan soldiers were reported to have been killed, though the Kenyan government has yet to release official numbers, at the El-Adde forward operating base in Somalia, according to the New York Times.
Al-Shabab operatives were said to take control of the base for several hours before fleeing with “with sensitive communications equipment, artillery pieces that can fire 10 miles and several American-made armored Humvees.” The incident is described as “the worst military disaster” in the history of Kenya; one that the Kenyan government is said to be attempting to frame in a way that softens “the blow.”
[Photo by Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images]