NAIROBI, Kenya (BP) Islamic extremists from the rebel Al Shabaab militia last week publicly beheaded a mother of two girls and her cousin in southeastern Somalia after discovering they were Christians, Morning Star News reported from sources inside the country.
In the port town of Barawa, the extremists March 4 called residents to the town center to witness the executions of the 41-year-old mother, Sadia Ali Omar, and her 35-year-old cousin, Osman Mohamoud Moge, the sources said.
Before killing them, an Al Shabaab militant announced, "We know these two people are Christians who recently came back from Kenya. We want to wipe out any underground Christian living inside of mujahidin [jihadists'] area," according to an area resident whose name is undisclosed for security reasons.
Omar's daughters, ages 8 and 15, witnessed the slaughter, sources said, with the younger girl screaming and shouting for someone to save her mother. A friend helped the girls, whose names are withheld, to relocate to another area.
"We are afraid that the Al Shabaab might continue monitoring these two children and eventually kill them just like their mother," the area resident told Morning Star News.
The militants from Al Shabaab -- which has vowed to rid the country of the Christian fellowships, which meet secretly as leaving Islam in Somalia is punishable by death -- became suspicious of Omar and Moge because of their irregular attendance at Friday mosque prayers, sources said.
"The two people who were killed ... did not take Friday prayers seriously, especially Omar, who claimed that she was praying in her house," another area resident said.
One source noted of Al Shabaab, "They have some spy everywhere in Somalia."
Somalis who have lived in Christian-majority Kenya are especially suspect. The sources told Morning Star News Omar lived in the Nairobi suburb of Eastleigh for seven years. Her husband became ill in 2011 and returned to Somalia, where he died. Omar and her cousin Moge, who helped take care of her daughters, left Kenya for Somalia in January 2013.
Barawa reportedly came under Al Shabaab control in 2009. In October 2013, a U.S. Navy SEAL team raided a beachside house in the town in an unsuccessful search for Al Shabaab leader Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr.
In the capital city of Mogadishu last October, gunmen who said they intended to kill a Christian for spreading his faith shot him to death, according to an area resident. Two men armed with pistols on Oct. 20, 2013 shot Abdikhani Hassan seven times as he approached his home after closing his pharmacy. Hassan was survived by a wife who was pregnant and five children ranging in age from 3 to 12.
The Somali cell of Al Qaida, Al Shabaab was suspected of killing Fatuma Isak Elmi, 35, on Sept. 1, 2013 inside her home in Beledweyne, in south-central Somalia. Her husband had received a threatening note that morning believed to be from the Islamic extremist group and was away at the time of the murder.
Al Shabaab's attack on the upscale Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, Kenya on Sept. 21, 2013 killed at least 67 people, with dozens still unaccounted for.
On April 13, 2013, Al Shabaab militants shot Fartun Omar to death in Buulodbarde, 12 miles from Beledweyne. Omar was the widow of Mursal Isse Siad, killed for his faith on Dec. 8, 2012 in Beledweyne, 206 miles north of Mogadishu. He had been receiving death threats for leaving Islam.
Siad and his wife, who converted to Christianity in 2000, had moved to Beledweyne from Doolow eight months before. The area was under government control and there was no indication that the killers belonged to the Al Shabaab rebels, but the Islamic extremist insurgents were present in Buulodbarde, and Christians believed a few Al Shabaab rebels could have been hiding in Beledweyne.
On June 7, 2013 in Jamaame District in southern Somalia, insurgents from the group shot 28-year-old Hassan Hurshe to death after identifying him as a Christian, sources said. Al Shabaab members brought Hurshe to a public place in the town of Jilib and shot him in the head, they said.
On Feb. 18, 2013, suspected Islamic extremists shot Ahmed Ali Jimale, a 42-year-old father of four, on the outskirts of the coastal city of Kismayo.
In Barawa on Nov. 16, 2012, Al Shabaab militants killed a Christian after accusing him of being a spy and leaving Islam, Christian and Muslim witnesses said. The extremists beheaded 25-year-old Farhan Haji Mose after monitoring his movements for six months, sources told Morning Star News.
Mose drew suspicion when he returned to Barawa in December 2011 after spending time in Kenya, according to underground Christians in Somalia. Kenya's population is nearly 83 percent Christian, according to Operation World, while Somalia's is close to 100 percent Muslim.
BP and Morning Star News (www.MorningStarNews.org)