Nearly 200 Dead, Including 9-Year-Old Girl, From Flooding

Water levels continue to rise in Nigeria along with the death toll, after weeks of flooding have devastated the country and killed nearly 200 people, including a 9-year-old who was swept away while fetching water. . .

According to The Guardian, Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency reported Thursday that 199 people have died since the Niger and Benue rivers burst their banks in late August due to torrential rains. Another 1,000 people have been injured.

Nigerian media outlet Vanguard reported on Wednesday that one of those killed was a 9-year-old girl, Benedict Uzo, who became caught up in the rushing floodwaters while trying to fill a bucket.

NEMA estimates that more than 800,000 people have been impacted, with over 280,000 left homeless. Four of Nigeria’s 36 states have been declared national disaster areas, and authorities expect things to get worse before they get better. Another eight states have been placed on red alert. . .

Secretary-general of the Nigerian Red Cross, Abubakar Kende told The Guardian that in addition to economic impact from crop and livestock losses, “One of our biggest concerns following extensive floods like this is the threat of cholera and other diseases.” (Read more from “Nearly 200 Dead, Including 9-Year-Old Girl, From Flooding” HERE)

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Trump Sees Progress on Nukes, Plans Second Summit With Kim to Put North Korea on Path to Prosperity

By Washington Times. President Trump on Wednesday teed up another summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, claiming major progress toward denuclearization and lining up countries to help usher in an economic renaissance in the reclusive communist state.

The offer of economic prosperity that would go far beyond merely lifting sanctions on Pyongyang was the crux of Mr. Trump’s pitch for Mr. Kim to give up nuclear weapons when they met at a summit June 12 in Singapore.

Mr. Trump said Wednesday that he would meet again with Mr. Kim in the “very near future” and promised an announcement soon of the time and place for the summit.

The leaders could meet as soon as next month but more likely after that, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on “CBS This Morning.”

Mr. Trump has been increasingly upbeat about diplomacy with North Korea, with the denuclearization deal back on track after some rough months following the Singapore summit. (Read more from “Trump Sees Progress on Nukes, Plans Second Summit With Kim to Put North Korea on Path to Prosperity” HERE)


U.S. Seeks to Keep North Korea Sanctions Despite Progress

By Washington Post. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that the world stands at the “dawn of a new day” in relations with North Korea but that international sanctions must remain in place and vigorously enforced if diplomatic efforts to get the country to denuclearize are to succeed — a position that faces resistance from China and Russia.

Chairing a special session of the U.N. Security Council, Pompeo said President Donald Trump’s diplomatic breakthrough with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has led to a point where the nuclear threat from the country can be resolved. But the “unprecedented diplomatic opening” would close unless the pressure from sanctions is kept up.

“Until the final denuclearization of the DPRK is achieved and fully verified, it is our solemn collective responsibility to fully implement all U.N. Security Council resolutions pertaining to North Korea,” he said, using the initials for the country’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. (Read more from “U.S. Seeks to Keep North Korea Sanctions Despite Progress” HERE)

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Teen Survives Seven Weeks Adrift at Sea Reading Bible, Catching Fish

An Indonesian teen survived seven weeks at sea drifting on a wooden fishing hut from off the coast of Indonesia to the waters near the U.S. territory of Guam, a distance of approximately 2000 miles.

Aldi Novel Adilang, 19, was working on a floating fishing trap (known as a rompong) anchored some 77 miles off Indonesia’s Sulawesi island when the rope tethering him to the seabed broke on July 14 due to high winds, sending him adrift, the BBC reported.

“My rompong’s rope snapped after it rubbed against my friend’s rompong,” said Adilang, who spoke to BBC Indonesian from his parents’ house near the city of Manado in North Sulawesi. “Unfortunately he was asleep so he didn’t know I was adrift.”

The rompong didn’t have a motor or paddle, and the teen drifted off to sea. His supplies consisted of about a week’s worth of food and water, a two-way radio, and a Bible.

“Rice, clean water, spices, cooking gas, and other supplies ran out. To survive I caught fish and burned the rompong’s wooden fences to make a fire for cooking. I even ate raw fish,” he told the BBC.

Adilang drank seawater to stay hydrated, filtering it through wet clothing he had on board to make it safer and more palatable.

The teen said he offered many tearful prayers to God that he would be rescued so he could see his mother and father again.

He also read his Bible and sang Christian songs.

He despaired at one point and considered committing suicide by jumping into the sea, but his faith helped him overcome the temptation.

Fajar Firdaus, a diplomat at the consulate in Osaka, Japan, told The Jakarta Post that more than ten ships passed Adilang during his time on open waters until on Aug. 31 he was able to get the attention of Panamanian flagged freighter.

He managed to dial his radio to the vessel’s frequency and signaled for help.

“According to video posted by a crew member, (Adilang’s) distress message — ‘Help Help Help’ — reached the cargo ship’s chief mate, Emmanuel Soriano, who informed the captain, Narciso Santillan — who ordered the ship to change course to carry out a rescue operation,” NPR reported.

Once aboard, the teen received food, water, clothing and a haircut.

The ship’s crew took him with them to their next stop, the port of Tokuyama, Japan, on Sept. 6,

From there he was flown to Tokyo and then on to Indonesia, where Adilang was reunited with his family.

The teen has no plans to return to his old job. (For more from the author of “Teen Survives Seven Weeks Adrift at Sea Reading Bible, Catching Fish” please click HERE)

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South Korean President Moon Jae-In Reveals How He Feels About President Trump

By The Daily Caller. South Korean President Moon Jae-in discussed his relationship with President Trump during an interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier on Tuesday evening.

“Ever since my inauguration last May, I had seven summit meetings with President Trump as well as more than 20 phone calls. I can tell you that I have become more than a friend with President Trump and between the two of us, there is absolutely perfect trust,” he said. (Read more from “South Korean President Moon Jae-In Reveals How He Feels About President Trump” HERE)


Trump Could Meet With Kim Jong Un by Year’s End

By Fox News. President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un could meet for a second summit before the end of 2018, according to the South Korean president.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in replied “yes” when asked during an interview Tuesday with Fox News’ Bret Baier whether he expected the two world leaders to meet in the “coming weeks.”

And when asked whether that meeting could take place “before the end of the year,” Moon replied: “Yes, I believe so.”

“I traveled to Pyongyang last week and had a very good meeting with Chairman Kim. And through the summit meeting, we had achieved some progress on denuclearization,” Moon recounted. “And also, President Trump yesterday congratulated me on the major success of the meeting I had in Pyongyang. And I look forward to a summit meeting taking place between Chairman Kim and President Trump in the not-too-distant future.” . . .

He added that Kim vowed to “permanently dismantle” both a missile engine test site and a launch platform, in addition to destroying “the nuclear facilities in Yongbyon subject to corresponding measures from the United States.” (Read more from “Trump Could Meet With Kim Jong Un by Year’s End” HERE)

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Trump Has Quite the Warning for China

By Washington Examiner. President Trump pledged not to “tolerate [China’s] abuse” of the U.S. economy Tuesday, denouncing the rising Pacific power as an predator in international markets at the United Nations General Assembly of world leaders.

“Those days are over,” Trump said of past U.S. trade policy. “We will no longer tolerate such abuse. We will not allow our workers to be victimized, our companies to be cheated, and our wealth to be plundered and transferred. America will never apologize for protecting its citizens.”

Trump identified China’s entrance to the World Trade Organization as a blow to American blue-collar workers, blaming it for the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs and an increase in trade deficits.

Trump has imposed $250 billion in tariffs on Chinese products, prompting China — the world’s second-largest economy — to impose retaliatory tariffs on the U.S. He has imposed additional tariffs on steel and aluminum imports on Canada, Mexico, and European Union, aimed at preventing China from dumping metal through third-party countries. (Read more from “Trump Has Quite the Warning for China” HERE)


U.S. Trade Chief Says China Policy Change ‘Not Going to Be Easy’

By Reuters. U.S. President Donald Trump’s top trade official said on Tuesday that changing China’s economic policies to become more market-oriented “is not going to be easy” even with tariffs now in place on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, in rare public remarks at the Concordia Summit, said “endless dialogues” with the Chinese government over decades had “failed miserably” in changing Beijing’s policies, so the Trump administration decided to try direct pressure with tariffs based on its study of China’s intellectual property and technology transfer policies.

After China retaliated against what he called “modest” U.S. tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese technology-focused imports, the Trump administration on Monday slapped 10 percent duties on another $200 billion of Chinese goods, including many consumer products.

“We enter into that soberly with an enormous amount of study, but the fact is that what we were doing demonstrably failed,” Lighthizer said.

“It’s not going to be easy,” Lighthizer said when asked what would result in concessions from Beijing. “Change is never easy, particularly where we have change, where there are U.S. companies that are benefiting from the improper Chinese policy,” he said. (Read more from “U.S. Trade Chief Says China Policy Change ‘Not Going to Be Easy'” HERE)

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Country Removes Their 8th Amendment in Effort to Stop Protecting Unborn Children

Ireland officially scrapped the 8th Amendment to its constitution this week, heeding the will of voters who wanted it changed to pave the way for legal abortions.

In May, Ireland’s voters approved eliminating the amendment, which placed the rights of an unborn child on an equal footing with the child’s mother, effectively banning abortions. On Tuesday, Irish President Michael D. Higgins signed referendum into law, CNN reported.

Although the action was greeted with cheers by many in Ireland, activist Devin Sena of the Human Defense Initiative said in an email to The Western Journal that this was no victory.

“The removal of Ireland’s 8th Amendment is a step back for human rights. A nation that once protected the human right to life of both the mother and her child, is now forwarding the idea that more powerful women can strip rights from weaker women in the womb.”

Sena also said that Americans should not shrug off the new law simply because it does not directly impact the United States.

“It is crucial for Americans to push back against the stripping of human rights from Irish children in the womb. Throughout history, the United States of America has been a leader on the world stage. Therefore, we must tirelessly advocate for the protection of the most innocent members of our human family,” Sena said. “If we become a nation that protects human rights for all, other nations will promptly follow.”

Irish Health Minister Simon Harris, who is responsible for drafting legislation that allows abortion in Ireland, said this week that his goal is to make abortion free, USA Today reported.

Under legislation that would be submitted next month and which could be in place by the end of the year, Ireland’s existing national health service would foot the bill for all costs, he said.

“Yes, it is my intention that the services will be free,” he said, according to the Irish Examiner.

“I’ve said from the start that I don’t want cost to be a barrier, because if cost is a barrier you get into a situation where one of two things happen, you get abortion clinics to develop or you can see people having to continue to travel,” he said.

“I want this to be provided as part of our healthcare system, our public healthcare system and part of our primary healthcare system,” he added.

Pro-life groups said they were disappointed with the rush to push the availability of abortions.

“Today’s committee hearings brought into sharp focus the extreme nature of the abortion law about to be introduced. It’s a definite rude awakening for anyone who thought the law would be somewhat restrictive,” said Dr. Ruth Cullen of the Pro Life Campaign

“It is clear Health Minister Simon Harris and others in government have no interest in hearing perspectives other than ones that zealously back abortion. It is going to take time but the public will realize the full extent of the charade that is going on when the reality of what the abortion law permits starts to sink in,” she said.

As noted by the BBC, Ireland’s decision to allow abortions puts it in contrast with its neighbor, Northern Ireland, which still bans abortion. Northern Ireland is governed by England although allowed some autonomy. Abortion supporters have called upon the English government to change Northern Ireland’s laws.

Sena said that regardless of the geography, his group’s fight for life will go on.

“The Human Defense Initiative will continue to fiercely fight to affirm human dignity and protection for every member of our human family — no matter how small,” he said. (For more from the author of “Country Removes Their 8th Amendment in Effort to Stop Protecting Unborn Children” please click HERE)

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Iran Blames U.S. for Instigating Terror Attack

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said Sunday that an unnamed U.S.-allied country in the Persian Gulf was behind an attack on a military parade that killed 25 people and wounded nearly 70.

Rouhani did not identify those behind Saturday’s attack, which was claimed by an Arab separatist group. He could have been referring to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates or Bahrain — close U.S. military allies that view Iran as a regional menace over its support for militant groups across the Middle East.

“All of those small mercenary countries that we see in this region are backed by America. It is Americans who instigate them and provide them with necessary means to commit these crimes,” Rouhani said.

Saturday’s attack, in which militants disguised as soldiers opened fire on an annual Iranian military parade in Ahvaz, in the oil-rich southwest, was the deadliest attack in the country in nearly a decade. Women and children scattered along with once-marching Revolutionary Guard soldiers as heavy gunfire rang out, the chaos captured live on state television.

The region’s Arab separatists, once only known for nighttime attacks on unguarded oil pipelines, claimed responsibility for the assault, and Iranian officials appeared to believe the claim. Iran summoned diplomats from Britain, Denmark and the Netherlands early Sunday for allegedly harboring “members of the terrorist group” that launched the attack.

The ministry later summoned the envoy of the United Arab Emirates as well over what it called the “irresponsible and insulting statements” of an Emirati adviser, according to the semi-official ISNA news agency.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had earlier blamed regional countries and their “U.S. masters” for funding and arming the separatists, issuing a stark warning as regional tensions remain high in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal.

“Iran will respond swiftly and decisively in defense of Iranian lives,” Zarif wrote on Twitter.

The parade was one of many around the country marking the start of Iran’s long 1980s war with Iraq, commemorations known as the “Sacred Defense Week.”

The attack killed at least 25 people and wounded nearly 70, according to the state-run IRNA news agency. It said gunmen wore military uniforms and targeted a riser where military and police commanders were sitting. State TV hours later reported that all four gunmen had been killed.

At least eight of the dead served in the Revolutionary Guard, an elite paramilitary unit that answers only to Iran’s supreme leader, according to the semi-official Tasnim news agency. The Guard responded to the attack on Sunday, warning it would seek “deadly and unforgiving revenge in the near future.”

Tensions have been on the rise since the Trump administration pulled out of the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran earlier this year and began restoring sanctions that were eased under the deal. It also has steadily ramped up pressure on Iran to try to get it to stop what Washington calls its “malign activities” in the region.

The U.S. government nevertheless strongly condemned Saturday’s attack and expressed its sympathy, saying it “condemns all acts of terrorism and the loss of any innocent lives.”

Initially, authorities described the assailants as “takfiri gunmen,” a term previously used to describe the Islamic State group. Iran has been deeply involved in the fight against IS in Iraq and has aided Syrian President Bashar Assad in his country’s long civil war.

But later, state media and government officials seemed to come to the consensus that Arab separatists in the region were responsible. The separatists accuse Iran’s Persian-dominated government of discriminating against its ethnic Arab minority.

Khuzestan province also has seen recent protests over Iran’s nationwide drought, as well as economic protests.

Iran has blamed its Mideast archrival, the Sunni kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for funding Arab separatists. State media in Saudi Arabia did not immediately acknowledge the attack, though a Saudi-linked, Farsi-language satellite channel based in the United Kingdom immediately carried an interview with an Ahvazi activist claiming Saturday’s attack.

Hamid Baeidinejad, Iran’s ambassador to the U.K., called the channel’s decision a “heinous act” in a post on Twitter and said his country would file a complaint with British authorities over the broadcast. Early Sunday, a Foreign Ministry statement similarly criticized Britain and said Danish and Dutch diplomats were told Iran “already warned” their governments about harboring Arab separatists.

Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen condemned the attack and stressed that there would be “consequences” if it turns out that those responsible have connections to Denmark.

Yacoub Hor al-Tostari, a spokesman for the Arab Struggle Movement to Liberate Ahvaz, told The Associated Press that members of an umbrella group of Ahvazi activists his organization leads carried out the attack.

The attack undermined the Iranian government “on the day it wants to give a message to the world that it is powerful and in control,” al-Tostari said. To bolster his claim, he gave details about one of the attackers that the AP could not immediately verify.

The Islamic State group also claimed responsibility for the attack, but provided no evidence it carried out the assault. They also initially wrongly said the attack targeted Rouhani, who was in Tehran at the time. The militants have made a string of false claims in the wake of major defeats in Iraq and Syria.

The Islamic State group carried out a coordinated assault in June 2017 on parliament and the shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution. At least 18 people were killed and more than 50 wounded.

In the last decade, mass-casualty militant attacks have been incredibly rare. In 2009, more than 40 people, including six Guard commanders, were killed in a suicide attack by Sunni extremists in Iran’s Sistan and Baluchistan province. (For more from the author of “Iran Blames U.S. for Instigating Terror Attack” please click HERE)

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Family of Teen Who Murdered American-Israeli to Receive Monthly Payment From Palestinian Authority

The family of a Palestinian teenager who killed a U.S.-Israeli citizen will be paid almost $400 a month by The Palestinian Authority, the Times of Israel reported.

On Sunday, Ari Fuld, 45, was stabbed to death outside of a West Bank shopping mall. Khalil Jabarin, 17, was arrested after Fuld was able to shoot and wound him.

The grandson of a Holocaust survivor, Fuld was a father of four and served in Lebanon as an IDF soldier.

During a chapel service, Fuld’s brother Moshe called him a hero.

“Who else could manage upon sustaining a fatal (stabbing) injury, to draw his pistol, jump a fence and shoot his attacker to make sure that his attacker would not hurt anyone else; only my brother, only my brother,” Moshe said.

“If there is one word to describe my brother, it was a hero.”

The Palestinian Authority denied an Israeli TV report that said the PA had already sent money to the killer’s family but confirmed that once all the paperwork is completed, money will start to flow.

Prisoner Affairs’ Commission spokesman Hassan Abd Rabbo said that the authority, which gives money to the families of Palestinians held for crimes in Israel, usually needs a few weeks to process paperwork.

“We are not bashful or secretive about our support for our prisoners,” he said. “The (Jabarin) family would be eligible to receive a monthly salary of NIS 1,400 ($390), if their son is not freed by Israel and it completes all the necessary documents.”

That amount will increase the longer Jabarin is held by Israel, he said.

Earlier this month, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said the way the Palestinian Authority spends money is one reason the U.S. is leery of giving it more aid, the Times of Israel reported.

“Since 1994, the United States has thrown more than $10 billion in humanitarian aid to the Palestinians,” Friedman said.

“Without minimizing the importance of medical treatment and quality education for children — and we don’t minimize that, not even for a minute — we found that these expenditures were bringing the region no closer to peace or stability, not even by a millimeter,” he said.

“To spend hard-earned taxpayer dollars to fund stipends to terrorists and their families, to expend funds to perpetuate rather than to mitigate refugee status, and to finance hate-filled textbooks — I ask you, how does that provide value to the United States or the region?” he added.

Friedman took aim at the Palestinian Authority on Twitter, calling its practicing of paying murderers and criminals “unconscionable.”

“The Palestinian Prisoner Affairs Commission has confirmed that the family of the terrorist who murdered Ari Fuld is ‘eligible to receive a monthly salary’ as compensation for his incarceration. This practice is unconscionable and must stop if there is to be any hope for peace,” he tweeted.

Israel adopted the “Pay for Slay” law which seeks to discourage the practice by deducting “the amount of money that the Palestinian Authority gives to terrorists and their families from the taxes and tariffs Israel collects for the authority,” according to the Jerusalem Post.

“An effective war on terror is also waged via the pocketbooks of the terrorists and their families,” Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said. (For more from the author of “Family of Teen Who Murdered American-Israeli to Receive Monthly Payment From Palestinian Authority” please click HERE)

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Trump ‘Very, Very Close’ to Moving on Mexico Deal, With or Without Canada

Canadian officials are running out of time to join the U.S. and Mexico in a trade deal to replace current North American Free Trade Agreement terms, according to an administration source this week.

In a Fox News interview Friday morning, White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett pointed to an Oct. 1 deadline in the ongoing negotiations.

“We’re still talking to Canada, and we’re getting very, very close to the deadline where we’re going to have to move ahead with Mexico all by themselves,” he said.

The Trump administration is fast-tracking the new terms to finalize an agreement before the end of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto’s term.

Some lawmakers see Canada’s inclusion in a new deal as vital to the preservation of NAFTA framework.

Nieto’s administration has been willing to negotiate with the U.S. and Canada, but leftist president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador would likely be less open to renegotiated terms.

Hassett placed the onus on Canadian officials he believes are refusing to negotiate in good faith.

“I’m a little surprised that the Canadians haven’t signed up yet,” he said. “They’ve got a really, really good deal that they should be participating in. … I worry that politics in Canada is trumping common sense, because there’s a good deal that was designed by Mexico and the U.S. to appeal to Canada, and they’re not signing up.”

Canadian officials have pointed to a key NAFTA provision affecting its dairy industry as a specific sticking point in the negotiations.

According to Hassett, the fact that Canada has not agreed to the terms has “everybody over here a little bit puzzled.”

Among the terms reached by Mexico and the U.S. so far are requirements that would impact the auto industry by requiring an increased amount — 75 percent — of a vehicle’s parts to be made in North America in order for NAFTA to categorize it as a duty-free product.

The renegotiated agreement would also require that at least 40 percent of all workers producing automotive parts earn the equivalent of $16 per hour or more.

Hassett’s comments this week echoed remarks U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin made last month on the issue of North American trade.

He said that the Trump administration prefers to have Canada as an active participant in the negotiations, but it would be willing to move forward with a bilateral agreement if necessary.

“I think our objective is to try to get Canada on board quickly,” Mnuchin said. “This is a great deal for American workers. If you remember one thing, this deal is about more trade for U.S. companies and goods and services, and that’s what we’re focused on.” (For more from the author of “Trump ‘Very, Very Close’ to Moving on Mexico Deal, With or Without Canada” please click HERE)

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Christians, Aid Worker Brutally Murdered by Radical Islamic Terrorists in Kenya

Christians, citizens and at least one aid worker were brutally murdered by radical Islamic terrorists with ties to Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram in Kenya earlier this month. International Christian Concern (ICC), a group that tracks attacks on Christians around the world, first brought attention to the murders.

According to ICC, the terrorist group Boko Haram kidnapped several women in Kenya, including International Committee of Red Cross aid worker Saifura Khorsa, a Muslim, back in March. This alarming incident turned tragic when Khorsa was executed this week. ICC reports:

Saifura was executed early this week by the terrorists. This comes less than a month after Saifura and her fellow ICRC captives begged President Buhari to help rescue them, and that they were on the final warning from the group. Now in a video released by the group, Boko Haram has claimed that if they are not given ransoms within the next month, they will not only execute the other two aid workers, but will also murder Leah Sharibu. Leah, a 16 year old schoolgirl, is the lone captive from the Dapchi incident earlier this year.

. . .

“Amnesty International strongly condemns the recent killing of Saifura Hussaini Ahmed Khorsa, a midwife and aid worker, by Boko Haram,” the statement reads. “By this horrific act, Boko Haram has once again proven its brazen disregard for the sanctity of life which must not go unpunished.” . . .

According to ICC, seven radical Islamic terrorists stopped a bus on its way to Garissa in Northeast Kenya. They forced the passengers to disembark and separated three individuals who did not have “Muslim-sounding” names. When two of them refused to say the Islamic Shahada because of their Christian faith, they were tied up and murdered. (Read more from “Christians, Aid Worker Brutally Murdered by Radical Islamic Terrorists in Kenya” HERE)

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