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Terrorist Bus Attack In Kenya Sees Muslims Shield Christians From Extremists

21/12/2015 19:35 GMT | Updated 21/12/2015 19:59 GMT
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FILE - This Nov. 4, 2008 file photo shows members of Somalia's al-Shabab jihadist movement seen during exercises at their military training camp outside Mogadishu. Al-Shabab have claimed responsibility for the gun and grenade attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya Saturday Sept 21 which has left dozens dead and wounded, apparently in retaliation for Kenya's military participation in peace-keeping efforts in Somalia. (AP Photo/File)

Muslims protected Christians during a terrorist attack in Kenya by refusing to separate from them and helping disguise them in Islamic garb, witnesses have said.

Two people died in the attacks in northern Mandera County, north Kenya, when gunmen, believed to be Somalia's al-Shabab rebels, shot at a bus and truck.

The bus was travelling from the capital city, Nairobi, with 60 passengers when it was stopped at Papa City by a group of Islamic militants who shot the windscreen, witnesses said.

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Abdrirahman Hussien, a 28-year-old teacher, said some of the Muslim passengers gave Christians head scarfs to try and conceal their identities when the bus stopped, probably remembering a previous attack in the same region last year when al-Shabab gunmen killed 28 non-Muslims from a bus.

An extremist entered the bus and ordered everyone to get out and form two separate groups of non-Muslims and Muslims, Mr Hussein said.

One person, who was not to Muslim, decided to run and was shot in the back and died, he said. He said several non-Muslims managed to group with the Muslims.

Before the rebels could take action, a brave Muslim man fooled the attackers by saying that a truck full of police officers that was escorting bus was not far behind.

The officer said the lie about the police escort prompted the extremists to order everyone back on the bus and told them to drive off.

The extremists ambushed a truck on the same road and asked the driver whether he had seen a truck full of police officers, the officer said.

Kenya has experienced a wave of retaliatory attacks by al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaida, since it sent soldiers to neighbouring Somalia to fight the extremists in 2011.

mandera kenya

The bus that was attacked in November 2014, killing 28 non-Muslims

Mandera has carried the brunt of the attacks recently. Last week al-Shabab militants carried out three attacks on security forces there.

Al-Shabab separated non-Muslims from Muslims on a bus on November 22, 2014, and killed 28 non-Muslims.

That December, 36 non-Muslim quarry workers were killed. In July 14 quarry workers were killed.