On December 20, 2015, during an Islamist terrorist attack on a bus with 60 people on board in the north-east of Kenya, Salah Farah protected Christian passengers from the violence of the assailants. On January 17, 2016, Farah died after nearly a month of treatment at the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, due to complications following the injury suffered in the attack.
The President Uhuru Kenyatta conferred to him one of the greatest honors of the African country, the Order Of The Grand Warrior, for "his act of courage".
Farah was just entered in his 30s. He was the vice-principal of the school in the city of Mandera, where he was teaching. During the attack on the bus, he opposed the orders of the al-Shabaab terrorists (al-Qaeda Somali cell), who wanted to separate the Christian passengers from the Muslim ones so to kill them. "We asked them to kill us or let us all go," Farah later said. His gesture inspired the other passengers. When they had been all forced to get off the bus, Muslim women gave their veils to the Christian ones. When passage of a truck on the road alarmed the terrorists and they momentarily hid, the passengers managed to get back on the bus and to escape. Three people were killed in the attack and others were injured, including Farah.
His sacrifice and the courage of all the other passengers avoided the repetition of a massacre like the one that occurred in November 2014, when 28 people traveling on a bus - 23 of whom were teachers - had been killed by a terrorist commando.
While in hospital, talking about how he had acted on the day of the attack, Farah told to Voice of America that "people should live together peacefully. We are brothers. Only religion is different. Thus, I ask my Muslim brother to take care of the Christians, and to the Christians to take care of us ... And let us help each other and live together in peace ... ".
Reported by Gariwo and by Biancamaria Travi. Proposal submitted for Monte Stella in 2016.
Gardens that honour Salah Farah
Salah Farah is honoured in the Garden of San Benedetto Val di Sambro.
You can find a tree also in the Virtual Garden Monte Stella's Stories.