Muslim passengers on Monday shielded Christians when gunmen attacked their bus between Kotulo and Dabasiti in Mandera at 7am.
The bus which was heading to Mandera had stopped over at Kutulo Wajir following a ban on night travel in the region.
“After stopping the bus, the heavily armed men separated us and asked the non locals their religions. They told the locals of Somali origin and Muslim faith to board the bus but Christians remained,” a passenger identified only as Otieno said.
But the locals refused to be separated and stood together with the non-locals, daring the attackers to either kill them all or leave.
The militants left fearing retaliation by residents from nearby villages, but only after shooting at the bus as it drove away, killing two people and injuring three.
Interior CS Joseph Nkaissery was full of praise for the Muslims who stood with Christains.
“We applaud Muslims who shielded Christians targeted during the Mandera bus attack,” Nkaissery said.
“The locals showed a sense of patriotism and belonging to each other by insisting that the al Shabaab should kill them together or leave them alone,” Mandera Governor Ali Roba said.
Mandera Township MCA Feisal Abdinoor said the residents were “ready to protect the non-locals even if it will cost them their life”.
Last year in February, a similar incident occurred in which 28 people including teachers, women and children were killed, causing non-local employees to boycott working in the region.