Somali Christians have been targeted by Islamic militants and some have been executed.
MOGADISHU, SOMALIA (BosNewsLife)-- Christian aid workers on Tuesday, April 1, asked prayers for two young daughters of a Christian mother who was reportedly publicly executed along with a fellow believer in Jesus Christ.
The Barnabas Fund group, which supports Christians in heavily Islamic nations, said the 41-year-old mother, Sadia Ali Omar, and her 35-year-old cousin, Osman Mohamoud Moge, were beheaded in the port village of Barawa by fighters of the Islamic group al-Shabab.
Barnabas Fund told BosNewsLife that local residents "were called to witness" the March 4 executions after they "found out that they were Christians."
"Sadia’s two daughters, aged 8 and 15, were forced to watch," Barnabas Fund said. "The girls have been left orphans, as their father died after falling ill in 2011."
Fearing for their safety, a family friend has helped them to escape the area, according to Christian aid workers.
Sadia and her family were suspected by al-Shabab because of their sporadic attendance at
the mosque for Friday prayers, Christians said.
Somalis who have spent time in Kenya, which is predominantly Christian, have been especially targeted by al-Shabab, according to Christian rights activists.
Witnesses reportedly heard a militant saying: “We know these two people are Christians who recently came back from Kenya. We want to wipe out any underground Christian living inside of the mujaheddin area.”
Residents of Barawa reportedly said that the two murdered women had been in Kenya until early in 2013.
"They would have been especially distrusted because they had lived in Christian-majority Kenya for seven years. The family returned to Somalia in January 2013," Barnabas Fund explained.
Referring to Bible verse Psalms 28:7, Barnabas Fund said it has urged supporters to "Ask the
Lord to be the girls’ strength and shield as they mourn the loss of their mother and recover from the terrible trauma of witnessing her brutal execution."
The group said it was crucial to "Ask for His peace for them and for other family and friends of the two Christians."
Barnabas fund added that it wants Christians to "Pray that He will turn al-Shabab militants from their murderous actions and instead draw them to Himself."
Several other Christians are also known to have been killed by militants in Somalia in recent years.
Somalia's President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, a former academic and civic activist, has come under pressure to reunite a war-ravaged nation divided into a de-facto independent north and a south still partly controlled by al-Shabab Islamist militia, despite international peace efforts.