On September 22, 2018, a family in western Kenya laid one of their kin to rest after he and two other men were attacked by a Muslim mob and stoned to death. Fredrick Mukanda Bahati was a mason in Elwak, Mandera, a town close to the Kenya-Somalia border. He worked in Elwak for six months before his death.
The Muslim residents of Elwak were engaging the police after three suspected al-Shabaab militants were found killed outside of town. In retaliation, the irate protesters turned their anger toward three non-local Christians at the construction site.
A witness, who requested to remain anonymous, told International Christian Concern (ICC), “Fredrick was on top of a new house he was contracted to build. His two assistants were on the ground mixing mortar when the mob arrived in [a] hurry, chanting takbir, takbir, takbir. From a distance, I saw the men hurling construction stones towards Fredrick and his coworkers.”
He continued, “The three managed to flee into a nearby hotel for safety, although they had been badly injured. The Muslims relentlessly followed them up and stoned them to death.”
This attack came only four months after al-Shabaab militants killed four non-locals who were working at stone quarries in Mandera on May 3, 2018. Security officers in northeastern Kenya have been on high alert regarding the terrorism that has claimed over 200 Christians in the past three years.
“I am shocked by the killing of the three innocent Christians who had come from outside Mandera county to earn a livelihood. We are not safe at all and this incident shows how Muslims hate believers in Christ. We have known it is the armed militants belonging to the al-Shabaab that kill people, but now we have discovered that even our close Muslim friends can commit atrocities against us,” said a local pastor.
Fredrick’s family laments their loss, and believes that he would not have died if police had intervened as soon as the protest began turning violent.
Wycliffe Mukanda, Fredrick’s brother, stated, “This is a sad day in our family. We have lost a man who was skilled in construction and loved all of us. He always reminded us to pray and trust God even in difficult times. That is what is keeping us going after losing him. We were expecting to see him before the end of the year but now what we have is the memories, a widow, and two children to take care of.”
He ended with a poignant question that many of us have been asking as these attacks keep recurring in Mandera, “Where were the police to protect [them]?”