By BosNewsLife Africa Service
MOGADISHU, SOMALIA (BosNewsLife)– Somali Christians were confronted with more violence Thursday, December 11, amid fresh reports that Ethiopian troops poured into neighboring Somalia to fight Muslim militants, who have killed and abducted Christians as part of their efforts to take over much of the country.
The Ethiopians’ advance came just weeks before they were to withdraw after a two-year presence here, aimed at protecting the Western-backed government. Observers warned their planned withdrawal at the end of the month would likely herald the administration’s collapse. That was expected to further increase anti-Christian violence and an increase in the number of refugees, including Christians,. fleeing to neighboring Kenya.
However even in refugee camps Christians have been attacked by Muslim militants, encouraged by the al-Shabab group, which declared an Islamic state in a region of southern Somalia over the weekend, establishing posts including a governor, security official and chief judge, according to the US-based SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors extremist sites.
One of the refugees, Salat Sekondo Mberwa of Mogadishu, was reportedly shot in the shoulder in Dadaab refugee camp and left for dead by Muslim youth following his release from a camp police cell.
He had been detained in October on charges of “dishonoring Islam and its prophet, Muhammad” because of his conversion to Christianity and defending his family against what Christians described as “Islamic zealots.” On October 13 Mberwa and his sun managed to fight off 5 Muslim militants who threatened to kill him for being an “enemy of Islam,” reported Christian news agency Compass Direct News.
He was jailed following the fight, but eventually relased after Christians had raised some 20,000 Kenya shilling fine (US$266) that camp authorities reportedly demanded for his release. Soon after, on November 26, militants returned and shot him. Relatives immediately gave first aid to the bleeding Mberwa and arranged treatment for him in Mogadishu, after which he was relocated to Dadaab for recovery.
Militants have also abducted Christians, including at least two nuns, identified as Maria Teresa Olivero and Caterina Giraudo, who disappeared from Kenya on November 9. The United Nations envoy to Somalia has called for hostages, including the nuns, to be released, BosNewsLife monitored.
“On the eve of Eid al-Adha, a period of forgiveness, I appeal to all Somalis to help ensure that those hostages being held, both Somalis and foreigners, are allowed to enjoy their freedom and to return home safe and sound,” said Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative. He said releasing hostages would help boost Somalia’s image and “show that its people deserve respect and confidence.”
Many of those being held captive came to help the Somali people or explain their plight to the rest of the world, Ould-Abdallah said, adding that their disappearance has caused their families and friends great distress and has harmed the country’s reputation. The two nuns being held were abducted last from a town on the border between Kenya and Somalia. “They should be allowed to return home immediately and I do not see any excuse for holding them any longer,” he stressed.
Christian aid groups including Barnabas Fund, which supports Christians in especially Islamic nations and territories, has suggested that the incidents are part of a wider trend in Somalia and border regions, where militants fight Christianity and try to impose sharia, or Islamic, law.
In one of several deadly incidents earlier this year, Christian teachers were killed. Daud Assan Ali and Rehana Ahmed, both Somali converts from Islam who had previously lived in Britain, were shot dead alongside two Kenyans when Islamic militants stormed the school where they were sleeping in, in Beledweyne in south-central Somalia.
Ali returned to his hometown in Somalia in 2004 to fulfil his lifelong dream of founding his own school, the Private English School, which was completed in March, Barnabas Fund said. On March 30, Ali wrote in his last posting on his blog for the school’s supporters that he was concerned over night time raids by Islamic militants, according to Barnabas Fund.
Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the killings although a spokesman for the group reportedly said its fighters “did not intentionally kill” the teachers. Barnabas Fund quoted several residents of Beledweyne as saying that the militants deliberately targeted the teachers because of their Christian faith “and out of a fear that they were teaching pupils about their Christian faith.”
The Shabab declared an Islamic state in a region of southern Somalia on Sunday, establishing posts including a governor, security official and chief judge, according to the US-based SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors extremist sites.
The declaration was seen as the latest sign of the Shabab’s steady advance. The group has taken over much of the war-torn country, witnesses said, and militants are even roaming the streets of the capital Mogadishu, adding to fears within the tiny Christian community of the country. (With reporting by BosNewsLife’s Stefan J. Bos).
Where do you get your news? are you talking about Somalia or is there another Somalia? The Somalia I know?
What a pathetic article forged by some-one who has no understanding of Somalia. It is quite funny article albeit misleading
We have no idea what is “misleading” about this report. We also don’t know what is “funny” about the attacks. With the NATO and EU rushing to fight-off pirates off the Somalian coast and militants roaming the country, clearly there are problems in the country. And JJ, we have no clue what kind of Somalia you know. One of peace and justice for all? It’s certainly something minority Christians would like to see, but there is no evidence of that yet.
BosNewsLife News Center
Are u guys serious about this? I have to say this is the funniest news article i have read about somalia for longgggg time…
This is the funniest part of the article. “One of the refugees, Salat Sekondo Mberwa of Mogadishu, was reportedly shot in the shoulder in Dadaab refugee camp and left for dead by Muslim youth following his release from a camp police cell.” This name sounds like West African name…Salat Sekondo Mberwa.
Another confusing here: “He was shot in Dadaab refuge camp in Kenya but was taking to mugadishu for treatment. He was jailed following the fight, but eventually released after Christians had raised some 20,000 Kenya shilling fine (US$266) that camp authorities reportedly demanded for his release. Soon after, on November 26, militants returned and shot him. Relatives immediately gave first aid to the bleeding Mberwa and arranged treatment for him in Mogadishu, after which he was relocated to Dadaab for recovery.”
We do not know what is funny about someone being shot or a name. Your comments underscore the reported hostile environment in which Christians live in Somalia.
BosNewsLife News Center
This is a hilarious piece of propaganda. Of all the things you could make up about the situation in Somalia, you come up with Somali “Christians”? First of all, Salat Sekondo Mberwa is an ethnically Bantu name. No Somali in history has had such a name. Secondly, if a man was injured in Dadaab refugee camp, why would he seek treatment in Mogadishu of all places? If Dadaab was unsafe for him, it would make more sense to be sent to Nairobi than Mogadishu, where 17,000 civilians were killed by the Ethiopian military. You really should cite your sources before you write these ridiculous articles. You have lost all your credibility, which was already thin, with this piece.
We have cited sources, and we are very confident about the credibility of them. That you don’t like to read this news, is another issue.
BosNewsLife News Center
This is what we think will happen but we all ready knew thanks god we know the real meaning
No Christianity allowed in Somalia. Islam will prevail and any kufr will be removed from our land.
Stefan Bos; What is wrong here is,
The distance between Dhadhaab, Kenya and Mogadhishu, Somalia are more than 2780 kilometers or about 1727 miles. Remember what we are talking about is in two countries and it is located in Kenya.
Dhadhaab is the head base of main refugee camps IFO, Hagardheera, and Dhagahley. So,
Mr. Stefan Bos, please correct your wrong and misleading information. All of the above people are not stupid, I see what they see in here.
Mr. Stefon Bos; Also, Dhadhaab is not a refugee camp. It is a place where Kenyan citizens and western UNHCR workers live.
I do not think it is kind to tell people that are starving hunger, convert to christianity to get food or die as many of you missionaries do all the time around the world. You missionaries beg(Big Evil Grin) and call upon in supplication from all around communities and places of worship.
You missionaries be in violation of human rights abuse and be crual to life around the world inexcusably. Just leave folks alone and let those who would like discover whatever religion they desire to choose as many people respect and understand. Isn’t that a logical thing to do? can’t we all share big wide earth?
Well, by now you should all know that I am Somali too. Magacu waa beeneey been.