NAIROBI, KENYA (BosNewsLife)– Dozens of Christian students in Kenya are recovering from injuries after they were beaten and stabbed for refusing to convert to Islam, BosNewsLife learned Sunday, February 11.
Tensions had been growing for weeks at Jamhuri High School in northern Nairobi following complaints of Muslim students — primarily of Somali, Boran and Oromo descent –, Christians said.
Due to increased hostilities, the boarding school reportedly designated separate bathrooms and sections in the library to accommodate both Christian and Muslim students.
That did little to ease tensions. On January 31 some “militant Muslim youth” began “speaking in defamatory terms” and tried to force Christian students to recite the Islamic creed for conversion and undergo cleansing rituals, according to Christian rights activists.
“This led to a brutal attack in which knives and machetes had been used against the Christian students, weapons that reportedly came from outside the school,” reported Voice Of the Matrys Canada (VOMC), a Christian advocacy group closely monitoring the situation.
At least 35 of the school’s 1,500 students were reportedly injured, including attackers who got hurt when Christian students tried to defend themselves.
Several of those who were targeted required hospital treatment for stab wounds and dislocated bones, according to Christians. Among those injured was the school principal, Fred Awuor, who also needed hospital treatment.
Following the attack, the school was closed while police investigated the incident, BosNewsLife learned. It was not immediately clear when or if the school would reopen.
The violence comes amid several reports of attacks against devoted Kenyan Christians, including children.
Late last year, three of eight children belonging to a Christian widow were reportedly seriously injured after being attacked by Muslim militants near Nairobi.
Advocacy group Open Doors said recently that “violent attacks on Christians by Islamic militants” in especially “northeastern and coastal Kenya have had a ripple effect on Christian communities throughout the country.”
Though Christians comprise roughly 82 percent of Kenya’s population, “in areas dominated by Islam, Christians are targets for persecution,” the group added.
Activists have urged Kenya’s government to increase protection for targeted Christians and churches, but Open Doors expressed pessimism about an improvement of the situation in the African nation. “Unfortunately, the corruption of public institutions is rampant, which limits protections for persecuted believers.”