Survivor of Kenya university assault found in building – Irish Times

A survivor of the attack on Garissa University College in Kenya on Thursday in which 148 people were killed was found today, two days after the attack.

Authorities rescued the woman who had been hiding in the college since Thursday.

Cynthia Charotich (19) said from her hospital bed today that she hid in a large cupboard and covered herself with clothes, refusing to emerge even when some of her classmates came out of hiding at the demands of the gunmen from the al-Shabab group.

Ms Charotich said she did not believe that rescuers urging her to come out of her hiding place were there to help, suspecting at first that they were militants.

Five people have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the attack on the university.

Interior ministry spokesman Mwenda Njoka said in a Twitter post that security agencies arrested three people trying to cross into Somalia.

He said the three are associates of Mohamed Mohamud, also known as Dulyadin Gamadhere, a former teacher at a Kenyan Madrassa Islamic school who authorities say coordinated the Garissa attack.

The three arrests bring the number of suspects arrested in relation to the attack to five as two suspects were arrested at the college.

Kenyan authorities have put a $220,000 bounty for information leading to Gamadhere’s arrest.

Militant threat

Somali militants on Saturday threatened to stage more bloody attacks on Kenya after the assault on a Kenyan university on Thursday.

Four masked al-Shabab gunmen went on a killing spree in a pre-dawn raid, hunting down and executing students in a college campus in Garissa, a northeastern town about 200km from the Somali border.

The al-Qaeda aligned group said the attack was retribution for Kenya’s presence in Somalia and mistreatment of Muslims within Kenya.

“No amount of precaution or safety measures will be able to guarantee your safety, thwart another attack or prevent another bloodbath from occurring in your cities,” the group said in an emailed statement.

In the message, directed at the Kenyan public, the group vowed a long and gruesome war, saying Kenya’s cities will “run red with blood”.

The death toll in the attack on the Garissa University College has risen to 148, interior minister Joseph Nkaissery said late on Friday.

The raid on Thursday was the biggest attack on Kenya since 1998, when al-Qaeda bombed the US embassy in the capital Nairobi and killed more than 200 people. The death toll is expected to climb further.

Strapped with explosives, the gunmen stormed the campus and began tossing grenades and spraying bullets at cowering students, the attackers initially killed indiscriminately. But they later freed some Muslims and instead targeted Christian students during a siege that lasted about 15 hours.

Anger over the massacre was compounded by the fact there were warnings last week that an attack on a university was imminent. Local residents accused the authorities of doing little to boost security in this little-developed region.

“It’s because of laxity by the government that these things are happening. For something like this to happen when there are those rumours is unacceptable,” said Mohamed Salat (47), a Somali Kenyan businessman.

Kenya’s biggest-selling Daily Nation newspaper, citing sources, said the death toll would be significantly higher.

Outside the university gates, a throng of veiled women clung to the hope that missing people would still turn up alive.

Barey Bare (36), looking for her cousin who worked as a clerk at the university and has been missing since Thursday, said: “We are here waiting for news if we can find him, dead or alive.”

Further pressure

The violence will heap further pressure on president Uhur Kenyatta, who has struggled to stop frequent militant gun and grenade attacks that have dented Kenya’s image abroad and brought the country’s vital tourism industry to its knees.

On Friday, US president Barack Obama called Mr Kenyatta to express condolences over the “heinous terrorist attack” and confirmed he still planned to visit the country later this year, the White House said.

More than 400 people have been killed by al-Qaeda-allied al-Shabab in the east African nation since Mr Kenyatta took office less than two years ago, including some 67 people who died in a blitz on a shopping mall in the capital Nairobi in September of that year.

Al-Shabab says its recent wave of attacks are retribution for Kenya sending troops into Somalia to fight the group alongside other African Union peacekeepers.

The group, which at one point controlled most of Somalia, has lost swathes of territory in recent years but diplomats have repeatedly warned this has not diminished al-Shabab’s ability to stage guerrilla-style attacks at home and abroad.

Reuters

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