(Reading time: 2 - 3 minutes)

A village in Kenya
Al-Shabaab militants are embedded within the coastal communities of Lamu and Tana.
Photo credit: World Watch Monitor

On August 18th, three Christian men -- Changawa Muthemba, Joseph Kasena, and a 17-year-old neighbour named Kadenge Katana -- were beheaded after refusing to recite the Islamic prayer of faith. A fourth man, Charo (Joseph's mentally challenged older brother), was killed when the perpetrators of the crimes went to his home afterwards. One of the victim's wives was an unfortunate witness to the entire act of violence and is now "severely traumatized."

The tragic fatalities took place in Kasala Kairu, a northern coastal village of Lamu County, and were committed by members of the Al-Shabaab militant group. The gunmen reportedly only targeted the men but spared the community's women and children. Several houses were also torched.

On July 7th, similar overnight raids took place targeting the Jima and Pandanguo villages, located near Maleli, in which nine men were beheaded. According to survivors, the militants only targeted non-Muslim men. Some villagers also claimed they had informed police that militants were in the area, but no action had been taken. These raids occurred just days after three police officers were killed in another nearby village.

Since May, the terrorist group has ramped up its attacks in Kenya. More than 50 people have been killed in ambushes or by improvised explosive devices in Garissa, Mandera and Lamu, with many more sustaining injuries. Several other victims have been abducted. The Al-Shabaab militant group, known to be an affiliate of Al-Qaeda, has targeted Kenyan Christians for years, attacking churches, public places and buses. They have left behind a trail of pain and destruction among regions where Christians are the minority. A previous report on an attack that took place this May at a school in Garissa can be found here.

In the aftermath of the attacks on their communities, please commit to the Lord all the grieving families of those who were slain. Also uphold all the victims who've been injured, abducted and/or traumatized. May God's ministering presence, healing and comfort be experienced in each of their lives. Additionally, pray for the police, military and all those in authority who are trying to protect the civilians, liberate the captives, and ultimately stop the violence. Last, but not least, please intercede on behalf of the members of Al-Shabaab. May God's Spirit be at work in their lives as well, so they can experience true conviction, genuine repentance and eternal salvation.