(CNN)Their M.O. is a tried and terrifying one: Launch a raid, single out Christians, and then spray them with bullets.
But when Al-Shabaab militants ambushed a bus Monday, things didn’t go according to plan.
A group of Kenyan Muslims shielded the Christian passengers and told the attackers they were prepared to die together.
The Muslim passengers, who were mostly women, told the Islamic militants to kill them all or leave them alone, witnesses said.
Police escort breaks down
The bus was headed to the city of Mandera, near the border with Somalia and Ethiopia.
The journey is such a security risk that most buses travel with a police escort.
In this case, however, the police car broke down and the bus continued on its journey, Joseph Nkaissery, Kenya’s interior cabinet secretary, said.
A few hours later, the militants attacked.