In Kenya, Muslims And Christians Come Together During Terrorist Attack On Bus

Eyewitnesses tell a chilling but powerful story.

When Somalia-based extremist group Al-Shabab killed 148 people during an attack on the Kenyan Garissa University College in April, militants started by separating Muslims and Christians. During an attack in the northeastern Kenyan county of Mandera on Monday, victims wouldn't allow the separation to happen. 

The BBC and Kenyan newspaper Daily Nation report that the Islamic extremists boarded a bus near the country's northeastern border with Somalia, and demanded that Christians and Muslims identify themselves and separate. When that same tactic was used in the Garissa University attack, extremists freed the Muslims and killed the Christians.

But according to the bus driver, the Muslims on the bus refused to leave the Christians' side. 

"The locals showed a sense of patriotism and belonging to each other by insisting that the Al-Shabab should kill them together or leave them alone," Mandera governor Ali Roba told the Daily Nation.

Two people were still killed and three were injured during the stop, but after the show of unity, the militants decided to leave. Roba insisted that despite the tragedy, he was encouraged that locals have turned against Al-Shabab, as evidenced by their stand together and refusal to let them separate people on the bus.

"We share the burden of the injured as well as the dead," he said. "They [Al-Shabab] have infiltrated the villages, giving radicalized teachings in the past three weeks."

This is not the first story we've heard of religious groups coming together to protect each other. In 2013, a story went viral when 200 to 300 Muslim Pakistanis made a human chain around a Christian mass after attacks on Christians in Peshawar. 

Cover image depicts the crowd at a recent mass given by Pope Francis at the University of Nairobi. Via Nichole Sobecki / Getty Images.