Kenya: Al-Shabab Militants Kill 147 at University – Voice of America
Kenyan officials say a day-long siege at a university east of Nairobi is over leaving 147 people dead along with four Islamist al-Shabab terrorists.
Police and survivors said the gunmen stormed the campus of Garissa University College Thursday and opened fire “indiscriminately.”
Some witnesses say the attackers were separating the Christians from the Muslims and holding the Christians and some others hostage.
Security forces surrounded the campus and battled the militants for 15 hours, rescuing more than 500 students trapped by the violence.
Interior Minister Joseph Nkaissery say the four gunmen had explosives strapped to their bodies and they blew up “like bombs” when police shot them.
Al-Shabab says the attack was revenge for Kenyan military action inside neighboring Somalia where the Islamist militant group is based.
It was their most violent attack in Kenya since the 2013 terrorist strike on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall which killed more than 60 people.
A White House spokesman said the United States condemns “in the strongest terms” Thursday’s terrorism against “innocent men and women.” He said the U.S. stands with the Kenyan people who “will not be intimidated by such cowardly attacks.”
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta told the nation that “this is a moment for everyone throughout the country to be vigilant as we confront and defeat our enemies.”
He ordered 10,000 police recruits whose enrollments are still pending to immediately report for training at the police college.
“We as a country have suffered unnecessarily due to a shortage of security personnel,” he said. “Kenya badly needs additional officers, and I will not keep the nation waiting.”
Kenyan authorities are offering a $200,000 reward for Mohamed Mohamud, also known as Gamadhere or Dulyadayna. He is suspected to be al-Shabab’s chief for external operations against Kenya and allegedly connected to the Garissa attack.
Al-Shabab is an al-Qaida-linked group that has battled the Somali government and its allies since 2006. The group has attacked targets in Kenya since Nairobi sent troops across the border in 2011.
The University of Nairobi warned its students last week that Kenyan government agencies had intelligence reports indicating al-Shabab was planning an attack on a major university, among other targets. It was not clear if a similar warning was issued in Garissa.