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Al Shabaab - Photo: Open Doors
Photo: Open Doors USA

Al-Shabaab militants appear to have stepped up their campaign of violence in areas bordering Somalia -- and Christians in the city of Mandera are concerned that they could be the next target. "The Christians living in Mandera are living in great fear of an imminent attack," one church leader says. "We have to (decide) whether to continue with the Christian mission work or to leave the place. We cannot pretend that all is well."

The militants are suspected of involvement in a gun attack on quarry workers which took place in El Wak (about 170 kilometres from Mandera) on May 12th. Two people died, including a Christian named Dalama Otieno. It's believed the group was targeted because they were non-Muslims. Then just three days later, government official Dekow Abbey Sirat was shot dead at his home in Mandera County. Al-Shabaab admitted carrying out the latest attack.

Last October, the same terrorist group killed six Christians in a grenade and gun attack on a residential compound in Mandera. Previously, in 2014, the group had killed 38 non-Muslims at a quarry in nearby Kormey and shot dead 19 Christians after hijacking a bus near Mandera.

Ask God to protect, strengthen and reassure His people in the city of Mandera and the surrounding areas. Pray that as they look to Him, He will indeed be their refuge and fortress (Psalm 91:2). May the Holy Spirit empower them to not only stand firm in their faith, but to also continue faithfully building God's Kingdom within their nation. Last, but not least, intercede for the Al-Shabaab militants, that their plans of destruction will be thwarted and that they will renounce their acts of violence -- surrendering instead to the One who longs to rescue them from the enemy of their souls.