A few days before Christmas 2015, a bus carrying close to 100 people was traveling to the city of Mandera near the border with Somalia and Ethiopia. Buses traveling the route –known to be dangerous, especially during the holiday season when many travel to see family – are usually accompanied by a police escort.
This time, the escort vehicle broke down, leaving the bus to continue alone on its way. The bus was subsequently ambushed by Al-Shabaab terrorists, who told the Muslim and Christian passengers to separate themselves. The terrorists planned to slaughter the Christians by spraying them with bullets. But the Muslim passengers – who were mostly women — refused.
They gave the Christian women their hijabs and hid others behind bags in the bus. The Muslims told the terrorists, “If you want to kill us, then kill us. There are no Christians here,” said Abdiqafar Teno, a passenger on the bus.
The gunmen backed down and left. One Christian man who tried to run away was captured and shot dead as was the driver of a truck traveling behind the bus.
Al-Shabaab, an extremely violent jihadi group originating in Somalia and operating in East Africa, was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. in 2008. The group pledged its allegiance to al-Qaeda in 2012.
Al-Shabaab was responsible for some of the most gruesome terrorists attacks in the region, including another bus attack in 2014 near Mandera where the group slaughtered 29 non-Muslims and the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya in which at least 67 were killed and 175 wounded.
The film, called Watu Wote, was made by three German students and was nominated for Best Live Action short film at the 90th Oscars to be held March 4.
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