by Monte Sahlin

By AT News Team, November 24, 2014

More than half the members of the Adventist Church in Mandera, Kenya, were among the 28 passengers on a bus massacred by al-Shabaab, a Muslim militant group from Somalia, according to The Standard newspaper in Nairobi, the nation's capital. The attack happened early on Sabbath morning (November 22) and the Adventists killed were evidently on their way to church.

"We lost 10 members," the newspaper quotes Pastor David Matheka. He told The Standard that on Sabbath there were only five people in attendance and the worship service ended early because the police officers guarding the group were called to an emergency. According to Matheka, the attendance is usually 15 to 20 and he estimated that another ten members rarely attend.

The town is near the international border with Somalia in a region of Kenya that has a strong majority of Muslims. "Historically the non-Muslim community … often complain of religious discrimination," the newspaper reported, including complaints that "local authorities" do not "allow them to construct new buildings," so "they worship either in warehouses or old buildings."

Seven public school teachers were among the victims of the killings. This led to the Kenya National Union of Teachers advising its members to withdraw from the region, according to other news reports.

(Adventist Today could not confirm the pastor's name, but because the Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook no longer lists Licensed Ministers, it is possible that he is a denominational employee. He may also be a local elder.)