MOGADISHU, SOMALIA (BosNewsLife)-- Minority Christians in Somalia faced more violence Tuesday, June 25, after news emerged that Islamic militants publicly executed a young man because he was a Christian.
The 28-year-old Hassan Hurshe, who had become a Christian while living in neighboring Kenya, was shot by fighters of the al-Shabab group earlier this month while returning to the Somalian town of Jilib, on the main road from capital Mogadishu, local residents said.
After his June 7 execution, Hurshe's parents, widow and son reportedly fled the area.
The reported execution undecrored al-Shabab's proclaimed intention "to rid Somalia of every Christian."
Though many Somali converts to Christ fled to Kenya, several risked returning home after government troops took territory back from the al-Shabab insurgents last year, aid workers and church groups said.
Hurshe was the latest known Christian victim killed by Islamic militants in the troubled African nation.
Earlier, al-Shabab fighters shot 42-year-old Fartun Omar to death on April 13 in Buulodbarde, 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the central Somalian city of Beledweyne, local Radio Shebelle reported.
The militants had been searching for her for several months, as they knew that she was a secret Christian, the network said.
Earlier in February the militants shot and killed Ahmed Ali Jimale, a 42-year-old father of four, while he stood outside his house in Alanley village near a police station, BosNewsLife reported at the time.
Last December, gunmen in Beledweyne killed Mursal Isse Siad, 55, a Christian who had received death threats for leaving Islam, Christians said.
A month earlier in the coastal city of Barawa, al-Shabab militants reportedly beheaded 25-year-old Farhan Haji Mose after also accusing him of leaving Mohammad for Jesus Christ.
As with Hurshe, Mose drew al-Shabab's suspicions when he returned to Barawa from Kenya, according to Christians familiar with the case.
It comes amid concerns about the whereabouts of another Christian convert who was captured and reportedly tortured by Islamic militants in Somalia remained missing amid fears he may have died.
Four fighters of al-Shabab abducted Hassan Gulled, 25, on March 23, after monitoring him for several weeks, local Christians said. He was thought to be held at an al-Shabab base in Bulo Marer, Somalia.
While Kenya's population is over 80 percent Christian, Somalia is nearly 100 percent Muslim.
Amid the turmoil, the United Nations vowed to stand with Somalia despite last week's deadly attack on its own compound in the Somali capital.
The bomb and gun attack by al-Shabab militants killed at least 21 people, including seven attackers and several people working for the United Nations Development Program.
(BosNewsLife, the first truly independent news agency covering persecuted Christians, is 'Breaking the News for Compassionate Professionals' since 2004).