Heroic Muslim teacher who saved Christians in al-Shabaab attack dies of injuries

Kenya's army is fighting the Somalia-based al-Shabaab group. Here, weapons captured in a successful operation are displayed.Reuters

A Kenyan teacher who protected Christians from death at the hands of al-Shabaab terrorists in an attack before Christmas has died while undergoing surgery for his injuries.

Salah Farah, deputy head of the Mandera township primary school, was on a bus with 60 other passengers which was stopped by the terrorists. He was one of several Muslims who refused to allow them to separate the passengers into Christian and Muslim groups, saying "Kill us all or leave them alone" and was hailed as a hero for helping save Christian lives.

However, he was shot in the hand and the hip during the attack. He was receiving treatment in a hospital in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, but according to Kenya's Standard news service he died while in surgery. His body is being flown back to Mandera for burial.

Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet said: "We provided a plane to fly the body home to Mandera for burial. This is because the deceased died while trying to shield innocent Kenyans. He is a true hero."

Salah Farah's brother Rashid told The Star newspaper that he hoped his brother's death would help bring "religious harmony and encourage Kenyans to live in unity".

It was reported at the time that al-Shabaab fighters had been crossing into Kenya in groups of six to 15 and that the largest group seen in the area comprised 30 fighters. They were attempting to radicalise villagers, without success.

Al-Shabaab's worst attack in Kenya has been its massacre of students at Garissa University on April 2 last year, in which 152 people died including four gunmen. Survivors spoke of merciless executions by the attackers, who stalked classrooms and dormitories hunting for non-Muslim students.