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Kenyan Muslims shield Christians during bus attack

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MANDERA, Kenya – An amazing story of heroism out of Kenya is making headlines around the world.

Al-Shabaab militants are known for launching a sudden raid, singling out Christians and killing them.

When militants ambushed a bus on Monday, things did not go as planned.

In the attack, the gunmen ordered Muslim passengers to come out of the bus and separate themselves from the Christians.

However, those Muslim passengers refused.

Instead, the group shielded the Christian passengers and told the attackers they were prepared to die together.

The Muslim passengers, who were mostly women, told the Islamic militants to kill them all or leave them alone, witnesses told CNN.

They gave the Christian women their hijabs and helped others hide behind bags in the bus, passenger Abdiqafar Teno said.

“They told them, ‘If you want to kill us, then kill us. There are no Christians here,” he said.

The gunmen killed two people, a truck driver trailing the bus and a man who tried to escape.

They left, but warned they would return.

Joseph Nkaissery, Kenya’s interior cabinet secretary, commended the actions of the passengers.

“We are all Kenyans, we are not separated by religion,” he said. “We are one people as a nation. And this is a very good message from my brothers and sisters from the Muslim community.”

Al-Shabaab, a Somali group the United States has designated as a foreign terrorist organization, wants to turn Somalia into a fundamentalist Islamic state. It has launched a series of attacks in Kenya since Kenyan forces went into Somalia to battle the extremists in 2011.

The group regularly storms buses and shoots passengers who are unable to recite passages from the Quran.

One of the group’s most brutal acts was a raid on Garissa University College in April that left nearly 150 people dead.