Join others in prayer for persecuted Christians around the world. The color is orange - the color of the "jumpsuits" worn by Christians before their executions by Islamic Fascists. The symbol is the arabic letter “nun,” the first letter in the word “Nazarene” that has been painted on doors of Christians in Mosul, Iraq, by Islamic Fascists to identify Christians' homes.

Persecution of Christians in the Central African Republic

  • Leader:Interim President Catherine Samba-Panza
  • Government:Transitional government
  • Population:5,099,000 (3,772,000 Christians)
  • Main Religion:Christianity (mainly Roman Catholic)
  • Persecution Level:High
  • Source of Persecution:Islamic extremism

CAR dropped a bit on the World Watch List this year, from #26 to #34, yet violence has only decreased slightly. The recent conflict in Central African Republic (CAR) has claimed thousands of lives, displaced hundreds of thousands of others and caused severe destruction of property. Although the Séléka have now been driven out of many parts in the country, numerous challenges remain. In the northeast, Christians are forced to flee from their villages and are denied access to farming fields. Large groups of Christians live in extremely poor conditions in refugee camps. While there is a significant Christian population, Fulani herdsman and Muslim extremists create significant persecution to believers. We reported to you of the killing of 26 by Seleka rebels in September 2016, and 4 dead after a UN protest in October 2016; believers in this nation are continuing to feel the ‘squeeze and smash’ of persecution.

From 2013 our programs were dominated by support to the Church in crisis following the March 2013 coup by the Islam dominated Seleka. We have been working to not only highlight the plight of the Church in the country, but also assisting the Church to provide emotional and physical relief to Christians targeted in violence.

RECENT NEWS FROM CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

SEP 11, 2017 “TODAY, WE ARE SET FREE!” Found in Prayer Alerts

Countless people have been traumatized by the violence engulfing the Central African Republic (CAR). Christians faced brutal victimization through murder, rape, looting, arbitrary arrest and torture… + READ MORE

AUG 21, 2017 PASTOR KILLED IN RENEWED VIOLENCE IN CAR Found in Prayer Alerts

The situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) is deteriorating. A local evangelical pastor, who remains anonymous for security reasons, explained that the recent violence was started on Aug. 4 when (mainly Christian) anti-Balaka militiamen attacked the Séléka (mostly Muslim rebels) in Gambo. The anti-Balaka militiamen were trying to drive the Séléka rebels away from the […] + READ MORE

JUN 28, 2017 CHRISTIANS IN THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC DESPERATELY NEED YOUR PRAYERS Found in Stories

“God’s Word does not teach us to pray that God kills our enemies but that He will change their hearts.” + READ MORE

MAR 29, 2017 THE WORLD WATCH RESEARCH PERSECUTION UPDATE Found in Stories

Recent news and its significance for the persecuted church. + READ MORE

FEB 17, 2017 VIOLENCE IN CAR LEAVES PASTOR DEAD Found in Prayer Alerts

Violence in Bangui, capital of Central Africa Republic, has left a pastor dead and his church razed, as outbreaks of fighting between Muslim factions have caused thousands of Christians to flee their homes. + READ MORE

PRAYER POINTS FOR CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

  • Pray for Christian converts who give up all worldly possessions and rights to know Jesus.
  • Pray for opportunities to witness to Fulani herdsman and Muslim terrorists.
  • Pray for Christians to know God’s faithfulness and peace in the midst of earthly chaos.

Persecution of Christians in Tanzania

Persecuted Church (2)
 
 
  • Leader:President John Magufuli
  • Government:Democratic republic
  • Population:56,878,000 (31,739,000 Christians)
  • Main Religion:Christianity/Islam
  • Persecution Level:High
  • Source of Persecution:Islamic extremism
Tanzania Map
 

Understanding the situation for Christians in Tanzania requires an insight into various sociological, historical and political events in the country. The Island of Zanzibar has had a very long connection with Islam and other Muslim countries, and it was ruled by a sultanate until the British occupation from 1890 to 1963. Tanzania then became a socialist country from 1961 to 1987. The militant movements in Somalia and Kenya are presently having a serious impact on the country. For example, Tanzanian security forces arrested 10 suspected al-Shabaab militants and discovered bomb-making materials during the raid of a mosque. It should also be noted that the population of the Zanzibar Archipelago is mainly Muslim, and many in the region think they are being purposely and systematically deprived of development opportunities by Tanzania’s central government. The inclusion of the Sharia court provision in the constitution would only worsen the situation, the debate over which has already divided the nation. Amongst the significant persecution, Tanzania was struck by a significant earthquake in September 2016, so believers here have had to deal with physical loss on top of persecution.

Open Doors has been involved in the Church in Tanzania through partnerships with the local Church intermittently since the mid-1990s, but most of our involvement was focused on the Church on the semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar. More recently, our assistance has included specific areas of the mainland. Much of our work is focused on providing literature and on developing church leaders through leadership development and Bible training, though it also included livelihood support.

RECENT NEWS FROM TANZANIA

SEP 6, 2017 ATTACKS ROCK TANZANIAN UNIVERSITY Found in Prayer Alerts

Students in the residence hall at a Lutheran-run university in Tanzania narrowly escaped as assailants argued over how to kill them. + READ MORE

MAR 7, 2017 “I RECEIVED YOUR LETTERS AND CARDS WITH MUCH JOY AND LOVE” Found in Stories

“With a heart full of love, I thank each one of you who wrote to me.” + READ MORE

SEP 15, 2016 EARTHQUAKE ROCKS BUKOBA, TANZANIA Found in Prayer Alerts

A 5.7 magnitude earthquake rocked the Bukoba region of Tanzania on Sunday, Sept 11, close to the border with Rwanda and Uganda, not far from Lake Victoria+ READ MORE

SEP 14,2016 5.7 EARTHQUAKE STRIKES TANZANIA Found in Stories

Sunday, September 11, a 5.7 magnitude earthquake struck the Bukoa region of Tanzania. At least 14 people were killed, and more than 200 people were injured. + READ MORE

SEP 14,2016 5.7 EARTHQUAKE STRIKES TANZANIA Found in Stories

Sunday, September 11, a 5.7 magnitude earthquake struck the Bukoa region of Tanzania. At least 14 people were killed, and more than 200 people were injured. + READ MORE

PRAYER POINTS FOR TANZANIA

  • Pray for Christians in areas dominated by radical Islam who cannot own Bibles.
  • Pray that God would grant His children grace to undergo resentment and prejudice honorably.
  • Pray for members of the Islamist separatist group Uamsho who orchestrate church attacks.

Persecution of Christians in Mali

Persecuted Church (1)
 
  • Leader:President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita
  • Government:Republic
  • Population:18,690,000 (448,600 Christians)
  • Main Religion:Islam
  • Persecution Level:High
  • Source of Persecution:Islamic extremism
Mali Map
 

Mali took a swift and unfortunate rise on the World Watch List this year, going from #44 to #32. This is directly linked with Islamic radicalism and violence. Since the Islamist takeover of northern Mali in mid-2012 and the subsequent French-led effort to restore Malian authority to the entire country in early 2013, civil liberties and political rights have yet to return to pre-2012 levels in both the north and south of the country. With a recent peace deal, the question is whether the peace deal will work, considering earlier peace deals have all failed. Mali gained international attention in August 2015 when Islamist gunmen sieged a hotel in the central town of Sevare and killed 13 people, highlighting the rise of radical Islam in the country.

In partnership with the local Church, OD is serving the vulnerable Church in Mali by providing Bibles, giving training to help pastors and believers in the various aspects of Christian life and ministry and by supporting persecuted Christians socio-economically.

RECENT NEWS FROM MALI

AUG 25, 2017 CHRISTIANS LIVING AMID JIHADIST ACTIVITY IN MALI Found in Prayer Alerts

August 14, eight people were killed in Mali during two separate attacks, seven at the UN mission in the ancient city of Timbuktu and one in Douenza, 130 miles to the south. Militants who shot and killed 18 people at a restaurant in Burkina Faso’s capital the same day most likely came from Mali, a […] + READ MORE

FEB 27, 2017 COLOMBIAN NURSE KIDNAPPED IN MALI Found in Prayer Alerts

Gloria Argoti Cecilia Narvaez Argoti, 56, a nurse and Franciscan nun, was kidnapped by self-proclaimed jihadists in southern Mali. + READ MORE

NOV 11, 2016 KIDNAPPED MISSIONARY RETURNS TO MALI Found in Stories

Beatrice Stockly was taken from her residence before dawn on January 8, 2015 by armed men who arrived in four pickup trucks, according to sources whose names are being kept confidential for their safety. + READ MORE

FEB 20, 2016 AL-QAEDA TAKES RESPONSIBILITY FOR ABDUCTION OF SWISS MISSIONARY Found in Prayer Alerts

Last month, we reported on the kidnapping of Swiss missionary Beatrice Stockly, who was abducted in Mali. In a recent eight-minute video showing Stockly dressed in a black hijab, a masked speaker with a British accent claims responsibility for the kidnapping on behalf of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). + READ MORE

PRAYER POINTS FOR MALI

  • Pray for Christians who were displaced from their homes in northern Mali by Islamic militants.
  • Pray that opposition towards Christians would not deter them from loving their neighbors.
  • Pray that believers would be able to witness to their Malian neighbors through the crisis.

Persecution of Christians in Malaysia

Persecuted Church (3)
 
 
  • Leader:Prime Minister Najib Razak
  • Government:Constitutional monarchy
  • Population:31,164,000 (2,865,000 Christians)
  • Main Religion:Islam
  • Persecution Level:High
  • Source of Persecution:Islamic extremism
Malaysia Map
 

Malaysia is still known as probably the best role model of a liberal and tolerant Islamic country in the world. This image is increasingly fading, especially given incidents that have occurred over the past year. One example of this is the effort to introduce Sharia penal law (hudud) in the federal state of Kelantan. Its implementation requires amendments to the federal law, so the introduction is still pending, but it clearly shows an increasing Islamic conservatism. The opposition parties even split over this issue in June 2015, which in the long term might mean that Islamic parties currently opposed to each other might unite to protect Islam. Observers are calling the Malaysian society increasingly racist, as the ethnic Malay majority is clearly being favored, while the Chinese and Indian ethnicities (as well as the indigenous tribal population) living in the eastern part of Malaysia are discriminated against. Malaysia has witnessed an increasing political, social and religious instability recently, and there are no signs that these developments will cease any time soon.

Given the increasing restrictions placed by the Malaysian government and society upon the local churches and new believers, Open Doors calls for prayers from Christians, worldwide. Prayers are especially needed for new believers who are thirsty for spiritual nourishment and fellowship.

RECENT NEWS FROM MALAYSIA

AUG 24, 2017 KIDNAPPED PASTOR IN MALAYSIA: NEARLY 200 DAYS OF SILENCE Found in Prayer Alerts

Continue to pray for missing Pastor Raymond Koh, and his family in Malaysia. It’s been nearly 200 days of utter silence following the professionally executed abduction of the 62-year-old pastor and charity worker in broad daylight on Feb. 13. Despite a police investigation, no leads have surfaced in the disappearance. In fact, Pastor Koh is now […] + READ MORE

JUN 22, 2017 PRAY FOR CHRISTIANS ACCUSED OF THREATENING ISLAM Found in Prayer Alerts

Islamists and Malay-rights groups are accusing Christians of threatening Islam in Malaysia because of two church events, named ‘Jerusalem Jubilee’ and ‘Borneo Revival’. Both events are to celebrate the capture of Jerusalem by Israel from the hands of Muslims in the 6-day war in 1967. As a result, the Chief of Information for the Islamist […] + READ MORE

MAR 29, 2017 THE WORLD WATCH RESEARCH PERSECUTION UPDATE Found in Stories

Recent news and its significance for the persecuted church. + READ MORE

MAR 24, 2017 CENTRAL ASIAN BELIEVERS FACING INTIMIDATION AND THREATS Found in Prayer Alerts

Hundreds of people from various faiths gathered to pray for Malaysian Pastor Raymond Koh Keng Joo’s safe release. Authorities still have not been able to find the kidnapped pastor + READ MORE

MAR 17, 2017 CANDLELIGHT PRAYER VIGIL FOR ABDUCTED PASTOR Found in Prayer Alerts 

Hundreds of people from various faiths gathered to pray for Malaysian Pastor Raymond Koh Keng Joo’s safe release. Authorities still have not been able to find the kidnapped pastor. + READ MORE

PRAYER POINTS FOR MALAYSIA

  • Pray for secret gatherings of believers from a Muslim background (MBBs).
  • Pray for new believers who are kicked out of their homes or sent to Islamic re-education camps.
  • Pray that physically and mentally abused Christians would be able to forgive their persecutors.

Persecution of Christians in Bhutan

Persecuted Church (1)
 
 
 
Bhutan Map
 
 

Bhutan is stuck between two giant neighbors: India to its south and China to its north. It does not often appear in international headlines, but gained some fame for its invention of the Gross National Happiness product in order to measure its citizens’ overall well-being. Politically, not much has changed in Bhutan as of late, where democracy seems to be establishing firmer roots, albeit in a climate in which all parties agree with the dominance of Buddhism and the king is cherished. The situation of Christians has remained stable, which means that they continue to lack any formal status or recognition and are persecuted for not adhering to the Buddhist national heritage.

Open Doors provides immediate aid to Bhutanese believers when their faith in Christ lands them in prison, excludes them from families and communities, and deprives them of livelihood and employment. We also strengthen the persecuted church in Bhutan primarily through: Prayer support, Advocacy and awareness, Persecution preparedness programs, Literature distribution, Discipleship and Literacy.

RECENT NEWS FROM BHUTAN

MAR 1, 2017 LITERACY IN BHUTAN: NOW MARTHA CAN READ THE BIBLE Found in Stories

Sister Martha is a timid, unassuming lady. She has lived on the outskirts of Gelephu all her life and built a family with her husband and seven kids. For 46 years, Martha grew up in the agricultural town, raising cows and goats, and farming broccoli, spinach, chili and beans. Born in a family of farmers, […] + READ MORE

PRAYER POINTS FOR BHUTAN

  • Pray for Christians who are cut off from water supplies.
  • Pray for believers who violate the anti-conversion law by leaving the Buddhist faith.
  • Pray for efforts to persecute Christ’s own in Bhutan to strengthen and unite them.

Persecution of Christians in Tunisia

Persecuted Church (1)
 
 
  • Leader:President Mohamed Beji Caid Essebsi
  • Government:Republic
  • Population:11,495,000 (23,500 Christians)
  • Main Religion:Islam
  • Persecution Level:Veryhigh
  • Source of Persecution:Islamic extremism
Tunisia Map

Persecution of Christians in Tunisia is markedly higher than last year. This includes a slight increase in violence. It suggests the regime is tightening its grip. Persecution is strongest in the private, national and church spheres. This is typical for a situation in which dictatorial paranoia is the leading persecution engine. Persecution in Tunisia is increasingly shaped by Islamic extremism. Pressure on Christians is highest in the family sphere, followed by the private, church and community spheres. The terrorist attacks aimed at tourists this year spread fear among the country’s Christian population. Although they do not only target Christians, the presence of Islamic terrorists has a severe psychological impact on them. Believers feel like the outcasts in a largely Muslim society. They seek community, but often at the cost of their lives.

In cooperation with local partners and churches, Open Doors is supporting the church in Tunisia through the following activities: Training, Literature distribution, Socio-economic development and Advocacy. Open Doors also raises prayer support for believers in Tunisia.

PRAYER POINTS FOR TUNISIA

  • Pray for Christians who are gripped by fears of growing extremism in their country.
  • Pray for believers experiencing persecution to remember Christ’s sufferings on their behalf.
  • Pray for Christian youth who are opposed and persecuted for rejecting Islam.

Persecution of Christians in Myanmar

Persecuted Church (1)

  • Leader:President Htin Kyaw
  • Government:Unitary constitutional republic
  • Population:54,836,000 (4,369,000 Christians)
  • Main Religion:Buddhism
  • Persecution Level:Veryhigh
  • Source of Persecution:Religious nationalism
Myanmar Map
 

Indigenous Rohingya believers face harsh treatment. These people are internally displaced, which has created ethnic and religious tension. Myanmar also recently saw its first free and fair elections in 25 years, which saw a landslide win for the opposition under Aung San Suu Kyi. Most ethnic minority parties did not win seats in the new parliament, so it will likely include less Christians than before. During the campaign and elections, the Burmese army continued its attacks against ethnic minorities in Kachin and Shan State, even though a ceasefire agreement was signed. Christians are strongly affected by such attacks and the level of violence is high. Additionally, an organization of Buddhist radical monks (Ma Ba Tha) increased their campaigns against religious minorities and successfully helped introduce four laws for the “Protection of Race and Religion”, building insurmountable hurdles for conversions and religiously mixed marriages.

Open Doors strengthens persecuted believers in Myanmar through the following efforts: Literature distribution, Discipleship programs, Pastoral and leadership training and Livelihood support.

RECENT NEWS FROM MYANMAR

SEP 5, 2017 THREE PRAYER POINTS FOR THE ROHINGYA, FACING PERSECUTION + VIOLENCE Found in Stories

Often called the most persecuted minority in the world, Rohingya Muslims have been increasingly treated as illegal and denied basic rights in Myanmar. Now, many are fleeing for their lives. + READ MORE

AUG 22, 2017 WIDOW IN MYANMAR EXPERIENCES GOD’S PROVISION Found in Stories

For some, the stanzas of Psalm 145 may sound like poetry. But for Lau Nu*, a 73 year old Burmese widow, the psalmist’s words are quite literal. + READ MORE

JUL 31, 2017 HOW AN EX-SOLDIER BRAVED DEMONS TO BRING A BUDDHIST VILLAGE TO CHRIST Found in Stories

When sixty-one year old Dano* retired from his career as a military man, he had no idea life would take him to an altogether different battlefield: a spiritual one. + READ MORE

JUL 20, 2017 “IDOLS ARE NOT ALIVE. JESUS IS ALIVE” Found in Prayer Alerts

In a small church with sky blue walls is a woman with gold, heart-shaped earrings. She sits on the floor with men and women singing praises. + READ MORE

JUL 7, 2017 MBB PASTOR IN MYANMAR THREATENED Found in Prayer Alerts

Pastor Aung* is a prominent Muslim Background Believer and pastor. His daughter, 16-year-old Meena* was taken from his home in February and forcibly married to a Muslim man. Two weeks ago, he received a call from an anonymous number telling him to go to the mosque and confess that he had done wrong because he […] + READ MORE

PRAYER POINTS FOR MYANMAR

  • Pray for persecuted Christian minorities to minister to persecuted Rohingya Muslims.
  • Pray that God would use new Christians’ Buddhist backgrounds to draw other Buddhists to Him.
  • Pray that the Holy Spirit would comfort and strengthen believers who are attacked for their faith.

Persecution of Christians in Jordan

Persecuted Church (3)

  • Leader:King Abdullah II
  • Government:Constitutional monarchy
  • Population:7,877,000 (169,000 Christians)
  • Main Religion:Islam
  • Persecution Level:Veryhigh
  • Source of Persecution:Islamic extremism/Tribal antagonism
Jordan Map
 

Jordanian society is multi-ethnic – a phenomenon which is also reflected by the monarchy. Jordan hosts large groups of refugees, mostly from Iraq and Syria, which leads to economic, political and religious pressure, all of which is potentially destabilizing. The number of Christians in the country has been declining for half a century. For a long time, Jordan was one of the most liberal countries in the region in terms of freedom of religion. However, the tide seems to be turning for Christians – especially for Christian converts from a Muslim background (MBBs) who suffer the most persecution. Believers here often face interrogations from police or even abduction by family members.

In cooperation with local partners and churches, Open Doors is supporting the church in Jordan through the following activities: Training, Relief and rehabilitation and research. Open Doors also raises prayer support for believers in Jordan

RECENT NEWS FROM JORDAN

AUG 28, 2017 A JORDANIAN BOUTIQUE CLOTHES REFUGEES WITH DIGNITY Found in Stories

Between 2014-2016, as ISIS’ destructive presence spread through the country of Iraq, many Iraqi Christians fled to neighboring countries in search of safety. These refugees often left everything behind – their homes, jobs, and even clothes – arriving as empty-handed foreigners in a strange land. + READ MORE

JUL 21, 2017 TENSIONS RISE AMONG CHRISTIANS IN JORDAN Found in Prayer Alerts

The day after the murder of a prominent Jordanian writer on trial for blasphemy, Christians and other minority groups protested peacefully, asking the government to fully protect minorities in Jordan. + READ MORE

MAY 2, 2017 SHARING GOD’S LOVE WITH MUSLIMS IN JORDAN IS A DANGEROUS TASK Found in Stories

Sharing Christ’s love among Muslims in rural Jordan can be a lonely and dangerous task. + READ MORE

APR 18, 2017 YOUNG PEOPLE IN JORDAN ARE HUNGRY FOR GOD’S WORD Found in Stories

There is a huge need in Jordan, and the youth are so hungry for the Word of God. + READ MORE

PRAYER POINTS FOR JORDAN

  • Pray for Christian converts interrogated by police and abused or abducted by family members.
  • Pray that the refugee crisis would provide an opportunity for many to hear the gospel.
  • Pray for Muslims to be struck by the love of Christian neighbors and drawn to Christ.

Ninth Circuit Rules Football Coaches Can Be Punished for Praying on Field

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Katie Pavlich Article

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, arguably the most liberal and misguided federal court in the country, has issued a ruling that justifies the punishment of coaches for praying on public school football fields. The big reason? Because parents and teachers can see them doing so and therefore it's a violation not protected under the U.S. Constitution. More from Fox News

A Washington state high school football coach who was punished for taking a knee at the 50-yard line for a post-game prayer violated the U.S. Constitution, according to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

A three-judge panel ruled the Bremerton School District was justified in suspending Coach Joe Kennedy after he took a knee and prayed silently at midfield after football games.

"When Kennedy kneeled and prayed on the fifty-yard line immediately after games while in view of students and parents, he spoke as a public employee, not as a private citizen, and his speech therefore was constitutionally unprotected," the 9th Circuit wrote.

Kennedy, who served as an assistant coach at Bremerton High School from 2008-2015, was ordered to refrain from bowing his head, taking a knee or doing anything that could be perceived as praying on public school property.

When Coach Kennedy prayed on the field, he did so voluntarily and never forced players to join him. His attorney responded to the ruling with the following statement. 

View image on Twitter

Joe Kennedy's attorney statement after court ruled against Kennedy who prayed after football games @AmericaNewsroom

NFL tight end Benjamin Watson weighed in on the suspension of Kennedy when it happened back in 2015 and pointed out the hypocrisy in society when it comes to public prayer. 

Blaze host Lawrence B. Jones, who is a former football player and the son of a pastor, called the ruling disturbing. 

 

“IT’S CONCERNING”: @LawrenceBJones3 speaks out after court rules HS football coach’s on-field prayer not protected by the Constitution

The good news here is that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals gets overturned 80 percent of the time.


Christians Hacked to Death by Somali Jihadists For Refusing to Convert to Islam

2015-09-17T111638Z_1_LYNXNPEB8G0KC_RTROPTP_3_OZATP-UK-SOMALIA-SECURITY

by Leah Barkoukis Article

While the Trump administration recently denounced the Islamic State for carrying out genocide against Christians in Syria and Iraq, the religious group is facing extreme persecution in some parts of the Horn of Africa as well. 

Three Christians were hacked to death by Al-Shabaab jihadists last week when they refused to recite the Islamic prayer of faith, according to World Watch Monitor. 

One other Christian, a mentally challenged sibling of one of the three, was also murdered. 

At around 9pm, Changawa Muthemba, who was in his forties, was dragged out of his home in Kasala Kairu, Lamu County, by a group of armed men and taken to the nearby home of his brother-in-law, Joseph Kasena, 42, where a 17-year-old neighbour, Kadenge Katana, also happened to be at the time.

The three men were held at machete point and ordered to recite the Shahada. When none of them did, the attackers began to tie them up. When the men resisted, they were hacked to death. Then the attackers went to the home of Joseph’s older brother, Charo, who was in his late forties, and killed him. […]

According to the source, Al-Shabaab militants and their sympathisers are “deeply embedded” in the local communities of wider Lamu and Tana, which are in coastal Kenya, near the border with Somalia where Al-Shabaab originated.

“They move around freely and often are at odds with the Kenyan farmers, deliberately sending their animals to feed on their crops,” the source said. “Locals complain that the police are not doing anything about the situation and even show preferential treatment to the herders. Earlier that day, some locals met with the Somali herdsmen, who threatened them. But this was not the reason for the attack; it only provided the opportunity for it. Al-Shabaab knew these men as Christians, and Joseph as a church elder.”

The attack comes one month after the jihadists “mercilessly” beheaded nine in Kenya, some of whom were members of a local church.

One witness also told the Washington Post the jihadists seemed to be singling out non-Muslim men.

These attacks against Christians in the area are nothing new. The Al Qaeda affiliate has been targeting them for years, including in churches, public places, and buses.