Islamic militants from the al-Shabaab terrorist organization reportedly dragged out a Christian woman from her home in Somalia and shot her dead while friends and neighbors tried to save her.
According to International Christian Concern, the murder occurred earlier this month when armed militants stormed the home of the woman, Sufia, in Mogadishu. She was dragged out in front of her parents by gunpoint, before being publicly shot in front of a crowd. Friends and neighbors attempted to save her.
The Islamists had accused the Somali woman of being an apostate (a person who converts from Islam to another faith).
"Al-Shabaab is an Islamic extremist group that has vowed to make Somalia 'purely Islamic.' The group adheres to a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam that includes the beheading of converts from Islam, or, as we've witnessed in Sufia's case, execution by firing squad," ICC Regional Manager for Africa William Stark stated . "The group continues to terrorize not just Christians in Somalia, but any act, person, or policy that could be construed as supportive of Christianity in Somalia.
"As more Somalis return to Somalia following the establishment of the new government, steps must be taken to protect Christians and other religious minorities. The practice of kidnapping, torturing and publicly executing converts from Islam must be addressed by the international community and should have no place in modern society."
The killers remain at-large as police have launched efforts to locate them. It is possibly the third al-Shabaab murder in April, ICC said.
Last week, the Somali National Army and African Union Mission in Somalia were able to capture the Eyn village from al-Shabaab militants, AllAfrica reported.
The militants are said to have abandoned the village after government troops launched their offensive on Wednesday, leaving two Islamists dead and a number of others injured. The effort was part of a government initiative to establish basis throughout the region and maintain security.
Christians are often a persecuted and targeted group in Somalia, where Sunni Islam is the official religion. According to persecution watchdog group Open Doors, the African nation is the second most oppressive country in the world for Christians, behind only North Korea.
"Islamic leaders and government officials publicly reinforce that there is no room for Christians, and there is a strong drive to purge Christianity from Somalia," Open Doors states. "The militant Islamist group, al-Shabaab, targets Christians and local communities."