A Kenyan bishop has pointed out that Al Shabaab have killed many Muslims as well as Christians.
Mgr Joseph Alexander, Coadjutor Bishop of Garissa, said: “Al Shabaab have alienated much of the Somali population, which is mainly Muslim, by massacres committed against other Muslims.”
But in Kenya the terrorist group has mainly targeted Christians, he said. Last week, on Holy Thursday, 148 Christian students and teachers were killed on a university campus by Al Shabaab. On Christmas eve, Christian workers in Mandera were killed in a similar way, and in the massacre at Westegate mall in Nairobi, Christians were targeted by Al Shabaab.
“Al Shabaab claims that these terrorist attacks are retaliation for the Kenyan army’s presence in Somalia, whose troops have played an important role in throwing out the Shabaab from important areas of the coast, disrupting the lucrative trade with which the fundamentalist movement is financed”, said the Bishop.
“With these actions, Al Shabaab hope to force Kenya to withdraw its troops from Somalia, allowing them to regain control of the coastal cities, including Mogadishu, in order to start taxing the population and restart their trades.”
By attacking universities, Al Shabaab aim at hitting the hopes of developing an area long ignored by the central government. The bishop said that students and teachers are also easy targets… Keep in mind that most of the teachers are from other parts of Kenya and that they do not feel at home. This is because historically the area of Garissa was part of Somalia.
“The British drew a straight line to delineate the border between Somalia and Kenya, separating a Somali tribe. In fact, the border is very porous and people move from one side to the other easily”, concluded the Coadjutor Bishop of Garissa.