By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent
Controlling southern Somalia, al Shabaab has been launching border attacks into Kenya with poor youths from Christian backgrounds.
Godffery Ngumi, senior lecturer at the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Kenyatta University, said recent converts can be easily manipulated because they know very little about their new religion.
“It is the recent converts who (are) being used to bomb churches,” said Rev. Wellington Mutiso, head of the Evangelical Alliance. “It is not members of the Somali, Boran, or Swahili communities, which have many Muslims, but the other tribes which have been known to follow Christianity …”
The use of converts from traditional Christian peoples makes it extremely difficult to identify and stop would-be attackers who can seamlessly blend into any Christian congregation.
“We are now meeting frequently to discuss ways of handling the trend,” said Rev. David Gathanju, head of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa. “We feel those who are attacking us are ‘our own’ who have recently converted. That’s why it is difficult for the security to identify them.”
Last year, Elgiva Bwire Oliacha alias Mohammad Seif was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to grenade attacks in Nairobi; after converting to Islam in 2005, Oliacha said he went to Somalia for weapons training before returning to carry out attacks on church.
“In a state of deprivation, people will easily embrace extremism as is happening in Afghanistan,” said Emmanuel Kisiangani, Institute for Security Studies in Nairobi. “They are also likely to be easily brainwashed.”