A group of Muslims protected a group of Christians during a militant group’s attack on a bus in Kenya on Monday, telling the militants to either kill all passengers or leave. They left, MSN is reporting.
— Intl. Business Times (@IBTimes) December 21, 2015
As the bus full of passengers was making its way through the city of Madera, in southern Kenya, members of the al-Shahab terrorist group at the bus and forced it to pull over. The militants then boarded the bus and commanded the passengers to separate themselves, Muslim from Christian, so they could kill the Christians. Passenger Abdi Mohamud Abdi, a Muslim, explained how the Muslims then protected their Christian fellow passengers.
“We even gave some non-Muslims our religious attire to wear in the bus so that they would not be identified easily. We stuck together tightly. The militants threatened to shoot us but we still refused and protected our brothers and sisters. Finally they gave up and left but warned that they would be back.”
— Allegra Kirkland (@allegrakirkland) December 22, 2015
Local governor Ali Roba, speaking to Kenyan newspaper Daily Nation, praised his constituents for risking their own lives to protect their neighbors.
“They refused to separate from non Muslims and told the attackers to kill all passengers or leave.”
Unfortunately, two people were killed and three people were injured during the attack, according to Deputy County Commissioner Julius Otieno. One of the injured people was the driver, the other passengers. It is not clear, as of this writing, if the people killed in the bus attack are Muslims or Christians.
Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, a spokesperson for the militants, told Reuters that his fighters were able to kill “some of the Christian enemies.” When asked to comment on how his militants were outfoxed by Muslim passengers who refused to give up their Christian neighbors, Musab declined to comment.
Unlike ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other Islamist terror organizations, al-Shabab isn’t interested in global jihad. Instead, the group is focused almost exclusively on Kenya. Specifically, the group wants northeastern Kenya to be part of Somalia, and wants the Kenyan military out of Somalia.
To that end, the militant group has carried out several bloody attacks, targeting Christians specifically. In December 2014, for example, the group carried out a similar bus on an attack in Nairobi, separating Muslims from Christians and executing the Christians.
Other Al-Shabab’s terrorist attacks include a 2013 attack at Nairobi’s Westgate Mall, which killed 67 people and injured over 150 others, and and April 2015 attack at Kenya’s Garissa University. True to form, in both cases the militants specifically targeted Christians for execution and spared Muslims.
Despite tensions between Christians and Muslims throughout the world, and specifically in places where the two groups have also targeted each other for violence, such as certain parts of Africa and the Middle East, sometimes inspiring stories have emerged of the two religions having each others’ backs in times of need.
In Egypt, for example, in 2013, Huffington Post reported on a group of Pakistani Muslims forming a human wall to protect Christians attending Mass. Similarly, The New York Daily News reported in 2011 on a group of Egyptian Muslims also forming a wall to protect Christians attending church.
Kenya’s Interior Minister Joseph Nkaissery, in remarks made available via The Washington Post, praised the Muslims on the bus for protecting their Christian neighbors.
“These Muslims sent a very important message of the unity of purpose, that we are all Kenyans and that we are not separated by religion. Everybody can profess their own religion, but we are still one country and one people.”
[Image via Shutterstock/punghi]