Extra / World News

Unreached: Sakuye

Mtumishi reports: 

The Sakuye people, also referred to as the Oromo, dwell mainly in the northern part of Kenya along the Kenyan Ethiopian border. Christian presence is minimal. There was once a church but it has since collapsed and the members gone back to the predominant Muslim religion in the area.

The Sakuye people are approximately 28400 in population in Kenya with a 99.6% Muslim dominance. They are found apart from Dabel which is their main centre in Elwak, Garbatula all the way to Marsabit and in Godoma Ethiopia.The climate in their area is semi arid with very high temperatures. They speak the Borana language which is predominant in their history and their current neighbourhood. The Sakuye are originally nomads but have currently adopted forms of subsistence farming though they still keep camels. The Sakuye are on an upward migration heading more north Kenya.


The Sakuye are also believed to be a mixed ethnicity between the Oromo Galla and the Somalis. They were despised by their neighbours because they served the Italians during the colonial era. They were segregated by their fellows and therefore having a common ground of rejection came together to constitute what we know today as the Sakuye people. They are therefore very curious of anyone visiting their villages. However they also easily embrace those who show they value and appreciate them.

Sadly the Sakuye are a people who once considered as ‘reached’ until the time in the mid-1970’s when the Kenyan government lured them to a feast only to punish them so severely that many of them died in that experience. It was a move of the government to stop banditry that was rampant in the area. Many of them went back to Islam and the church that was presence amidst them collapsed.

Another sad legacy and challenge is that early missionaries to the people came flashing goodies. Many people never understood what Christianity was but associated it with charity and help, began to call themselves ‘Christians’ to receive these goodies (rather than Christ) and when the goodies went so did Christianity among them.

The spirit of ‘Hayana’ is believed to rule over the airs of the Sakuye people, operating from Ethiopia all the way to Moyale, Dabel through to Marsabit. It is a spirit whose agents have physically threatened missionaries in this field and which sometimes seems to cause bad dreams. “The only way to defeat this spirit is prayer. every time anyone of us dreams threats we wake up and pray and after that we sleep peacefully.” says one of the missionaries during an interview. The spirit’s major weapon is inflicting fear through threats and violent attacks.

Please pray:

  • For an end to tribal clashes in the Moyale and Wajir areas that have caused several deaths and unrest.
  • That missionaries working amongst this people to be fearless, secure in Christ and have opportunities to love the Sakuye people and to tell them of the One who was betrayed, punished instead of sinners and rose again to bring true peace and the true riches of sonship.

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