A group of Kenyan Muslims have protected their Christian counterparts after the bus they were travelling on was ambushed by Islamist gunmen.
According to eyewitnesses, the passengers refused to be split into groups, making it difficult for the militants to identify those they wished to target. According to the BBC a local governor told Kenyan media the hostages told the militants, “to kill them together or leave them alone.”
The bus was travelling from the capital Nairobi to the town of Mandera when the attack took place and an employee of the Makkah bus company, who had spoken to the driver involved in the attack, confirmed to the BBC that Muslims had refused to be separated from their fellow Christian passengers.
“The locals showed a sense of patriotism and belonging to each other,” said Mandera governor Ali Roba in an interview for Daily Nation newspaper. “The militants decided to leave after the passengers’ show of unity.”
At least two people were killed and three injured in the attack, with one of the victims shot dead after trying to escape after passengers had been forced off the bus. The incident took place near the north-eastern village of El Wak on the Somali border, with the Somalia based al-Shabab group the main suspect for the attack.
The group has not yet claimed responsibility but often carries out attacks in the area, having been at war with Kenya ever since Kenyan forces entered Somalia in October 2011 in an effort to crush the militants.