By BosNewsLife Africa Service
MOGADISHU, SOMALIA (BosNewsLife)– Islamic fighters from the militant al-Shabab group in Somalia have beheaded a Christian on the outskirts of the war-torn nation’s capital Mogadishu, a Christian news agency reported Wednesday February 8.
The militants fighting the transitional government in Mogadishu murdered Zakaria Hussein Omar, 26, on January 2 in Cee-carfiid village, about 15 kilometers (nine miles) outside of Mogadishu, said Compass Direct News, which investigates cases of reported persecution.
Omar reportedly worked for a Christian humanitarian organization that al-Shabab banned last year.
His body was left lying for 20 hours before nomads found it and carried it into Mogadishu, an unidentified
friend was quited as saying.
“We have been communicating with Omar, and he was sharing with me his life as a Christian,” the friend said.
“Last year he mentioned to me that his life was in danger when the NGO [Non-Governmental Organization] he worked for was banned by theal-Shabab.”
The friend said he identified the body.
“One of the persons who saw him said, ‘This is the young man who stayed in Ethiopia, and people have been saying that he left Islam and joined Christianity.’”
Omar converted to Christianity seven years ago while in Ethiopia, where he lived with relatives. He returned to Somalia in 2008 and completed his university education in 2009 with a degree in accounting, Christians said.
Omar, who married in 2010, is survived by his wife, parents, a brother and four sisters.
Several other Christians are also known to have been killed in recent months by Islamic militants.
Over 99 percent of Somalia’s nearly 10 million people are Muslims. The tiny Christian minority of perhaps thousands of people comprises many ethnic Bantus as well as humanitarian workers and expatriates, Christian aid groups say
While the government has pledged to crackdown on militants, Christian analysts have expressed concerns that even the United Nations-backed transitional administration of President Sheikh Sharif Sheik Ahmed supports a version of Islamic law that mandates the death penalty for all those who leave Islam.
Amid the Islamic tensions, Christians also face mistreatment.
A Somali woman, who converted from Islam to Christianity, has been nursing her injuries after she was reportedly paraded before a cheering crowd and publicly flogged in December as a punishment for embracing a “foreign religion.”
Christians said 28-year-old Sofia Osman from Janale city in Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region, had been taken into custody by fighters of the Islamic militant group al-Shabab militants in November and that the public mistreatment was meant to mark her release.