Three Christian teachers were murdered Monday morning in Kenya during an attack on a primary school believed to have been carried out by the Somalia-based, al-Qaeda-linked extremist faction Al-Shabaab.
Kenya’s National Police Service confirmed in a post on Twitter that three teachers were killed when suspected Al-Shabaab militants attacked the school as well as a police post and telecommunications mast in the town of Kamuthe in Garissa County around 2 a.m.
As Al-Shabaab has conducted other deadly attacks in the Garissa area in recent years targeting the Christian community, the United States-based nonprofit persecution watchdog group International Christian Concern reports that the three teachers were Christian. ICC named the deceased instructors as Caleb Mutua, Titus Ushindi, and Samuel Muthui Kyonzu. Also, ICC reports that a fourth victim named Joshua Mutua survived with serious leg injuries.
Citing a police report, The Associated Press notes that one Muslim teacher at the school was abducted while the life of a female nurse was spared by the assailants.
Robert Kibutu, a teacher who lives outside of the school’s residential area, told ICC that his fellow teachers were fatally shot by an unknown number of suspected Al-Shabaab militants.
“We are sad and at the same time scared because we are targeted for being non-local government workers that belong to the Christian faith,” Kibutu was quoted as saying.
According to The Daily Nation, the Somalia-based terrorist group is responsible for carrying out more than 10 attacks in northern and coastal Kenya in the last five weeks, killing 25 civilians.
Earlier this month, four students were killed when militants attacked the Saretho Primary School in Dadaab Sub-County.
Al-Shabaab has carried out several attacks against schools. After two teachers were killed in 2018, nearly 250 schools were closed down in Wajir County.
In an April report, the International Crisis Group reported that there have been over 100 small-scale assaults in northeast Kenya that have killed dozens of soldiers, police officers and non-Muslim professionals serving in the northeast who are natives of other parts of Kenya.
As a result of the attacks, hundreds of teachers, nurses and other school employees have fled from the region. Activists argue that the Kenyan government must do more to deal with the insecurity plaguing northeastern Kenya.
Kenya ranks as the 40th-worst country in the world when it comes to Christian persecution, according to Open Doors USA’s 2019 World Watch List.
A large factor in the ranking is the numerous attacks conducted by Al-Shabaab. Meanwhile, Al-Shabaab’s home country, Somalia, ranks as the third-worst country on the 2019 World Watch List.
In December, suspected Al-Shabaab extremists killed as many as 11 Christians during an attack on a bus headed from Nairobi to Mandera.
Arguably Al-Shabaab’s most devastating massacre occurred on the campus of Garissa University in 2015.
Militants stormed the university, separated Christians from non-Christians and proceeded to execute Christian students. Nearly 150 people, mostly Christians, were killed while 79 others were injured during the incident.
Following Monday’s attack, Garissa lawmaker Anab Subow Gure accused the government of failing to act on intelligence reports provided by the public, saying that the attacks could have been prevented.
“It’s time the government took security matters with the seriousness they deserve,” Gure was quoted as saying by the Nairobi-based crowdsource news website Hivisasa.com. “The attacks in Diiso, Saretho and Kamuthe were all preceded by credible information and intelligence from the public but the county security teams did not act as required.”