Young Muslim men of Somali descent beat a 23-year-old Somali Christian unconscious last week in Kenya, less than six weeks after a related gang attacked his older brother.

Ibrahim, 23, whose surname is withheld for security reasons, was beaten by seven Somalis born in Kenya who stopped him near his home in an undisclosed town at about 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 5, he told World Watch Monitor. His family was presumably Muslim when he was born, so the gang beat him as an “apostate” even though he later had been raised as a Christian, his family said.

He had gone out to buy food for the family, but heavy rains delayed his return. When Ibrahim refused to heed their orders to stop, they began to rough him up, and he heard one of the assailants say, “This is one of the guys we have been looking for, and today we have found him – we did not succeed in killing your brother, but today we are going to kill you.”

The young men began hitting him from every side, he said.

“A blunt object hit my knee, and immediately I fell down,” he said. “There were several blows that injured my left eye. While on the ground the gang continued hitting me on my head as well as my leg. From that time on I did not know what happened next. I only remember shouting and crying for help. Later I found myself at our house with the rest of the family members.”

Area residents were able to stop the beating and took him home, he later learned.

When World Watch Monitor met with him two days after the attack, a knee injury on one leg and bruises and swelling on the other kept him from walking. His left eye looked red, and he said he could not see well.

“I feel dizzy, and my memory has been affected,” he said. “I cannot turn my head; the pain all over my body is numbing.”

On Oct. 27 a related gang attacked Ibrahim’s brother, 25-year-old Hassan, as they had learned that the entire family had become Christian. Police arrested two of the attackers, but they were released without charges after allegedly accepting a bribe of 10,000 Kenyan shillings (US$110), according to the young men’s mother.

The Christian woman, whose name is withheld for security reasons, said police reported that the two suspects escaped from custody.

“We have information that the two who are alleged to have escaped from prison are in Nyeri,” a town in central Kenya near Mt. Kenya about 150 kilometers (93 miles) from Nairobi, she said.

The Somali neighbours in Kenya who had attacked Hassan left him for dead, bleeding and naked, Like his younger brother, Hassan had been returning home from running errands when six young Muslim men hit him with a metal bar on his forehead and face, he said; he lost two teeth. They also wounded his hands with a knife. The attackers stripped him of his clothes as he bled and dragged him away, dumping him at the entrance of an area Presbyterian Church of East Africa.

The young men’s mother, saddened and shaken, said she was reluctant to report the latest assault after the release of the two men arrested in connection with the attack on her oldest son.

“I feel it will be a waste of time, because those who attacked Hassan were released without being charged in court,” she said.

The latest incident comes in the wake of similar attacks on Somalis who have embraced Christ and have fled radical Islamists who do not hesitate to execute those who abandon the Islamic religion.

Ibrahim said he was able to identify two of the Muslims who beat him, Kenya-born Somali neighbours known as Abdi Kodana and Mohammed Kodana. The leader of the gang, he said, was Omar Kadi, also a Kenya-born Somali.

The young men’s mother said she is seeking a safer place to move the family. The sole breadwinner for the family, she fled Somalia 10 years ago after the death of her husband. She has five other sons and two daughters.

The widow and her family are part of a church that meets secretly in a home, but neighbourhood Muslims have gradually surmised that they are Christians as they do not attend a mosque.