Strangers raise money for family of Muslim teacher who died after protecting Christians from terror attack

Thousands of Kenyans are paying tribute to Salah Farah with the hashtag #HeroSalah

Lizzie Dearden@lizziedearden
Friday 22 January 2016 18:09
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A previous attack on a bus near Mandera saw al-Shabaab militants kill 28 passengers in November 2014
A previous attack on a bus near Mandera saw al-Shabaab militants kill 28 passengers in November 2014

Thousands of Kenyans are donating money to the family of a Muslim school teacher who died after protecting Christians from a terrorist attack.

Salah Farah has become a national hero after helping prevent another massacre by al-Qaeda allied gunman from al-Shabaab.

He was among a group of Muslims who refused to be separated from Christian passengers when the gang ordered them off a bus in Mandera last month.

Knowing that the Christians would be massacred as soon as they were identified in a horrific pattern repeated in many recent attacks, he told the gunmen to kill everyone or leave.

The Islamists let the bus go but not before killing two passengers and injuring three others, including Mr Farah.

He died of complications to his injuries in hospital on Sunday, leaving four children and his pregnant widow.

As news of his death continued to spread on Thursday, a social media campaign started using the hashtag #HeroSalah to raise money for his family.

It appears to have been started by Abdullahi Derow, who has been recording the incredible response on Twitter.

“May Allah bless you,” he wrote. “This kind of compassion is a great sign that humanity exists”.

By Friday afternoon, KSH 100,000 (£683) had been raised and donations continued to pour in as people continued to urge support on Twitter.

Joseph Boinnet, head of Kenya’s national police, had called Mr Farah a “true hero”, saying he had given his life to protect fellow Kenyans from terrorists.

At the time, Mr Farah told the Daily Nation that gunmen stopped the bus and ordered Christians and Muslims to separate.

“We asked them to kill all of us or leave us alone,” the teacher and deputy headmaster said.

“As we argued, they shot me and the boy. One man who also came out of the bus and tried to escape to the bush was shot.”

Speaking to the Voice of America earlier this month, he said he wanted “people to live peacefully together”.

“We are brothers,” Mr Farah added. “It's only the religion that is the difference, so I ask my brother Muslims to take care of the Christians so that the Christians also take care of us…and let us help one another.”

Al-Shabaab has also been launching attacks in Somalia, where at least 20 people were massacred on a beach on Thursday

Just a year before, al-Shabaab stopped another bus in Mandera in 2014, divided passengers by religion, and shot the 28 non-Muslims dead.

The Somalia-based terrorist group has launched several attacks in Kenya including the massacres at the Westgate shopping mall and Garissa University College.

Militants claim they are carrying out reprisals for Kenyan military intervention in Somalia and exploiting historical grievances between Muslim and Christian communities

Last week al-Shabaab attacked a camp for Kenyan peacekeepers in south-western Somalia, killing an unknown number of Kenyan soldiers and the group has claimed responsibility for massacring at least 20 people on Mogadishu’s Lido beach on Thursday.

Additional reporting by AP

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