Somali terror unit kills Christians in Kenya University

Nairobi, Kenya: Some 143 people lost their lives and several injured in a horrific attack. Gunmen attacked a university campus in northeastern Kenya early on Holy Thursday, clashing with guards, forcing their way into dormitories, taking hostages and singling out non-Muslims, the authorities said.

Kenya’s interior minister, Joseph Nkaissery, said that 147 people had been killed, including four attackers. He contended that the deadly siege at the university had ended, and that security forces were carefully sweeping the campus for any remaining threats.

Kenyan Soldier takes cover during attack

Kenyan Soldier takes cover during attack

Kenyan security forces surrounded the campus of Garissa University College and clashed with the gunmen throughout the day, eventually cornering them in one dormitory, officials said. The town of Garissa is about 200km from the Somali border.

Abdikadir Sugow, the spokesman for the Garissa county government, said the gunmen were seen wearing “combat gear”, including what appeared to be “either bulletproof vests or suicide bomb vests”.

Al Shabaab, an extremist group based in Somalia and affiliated with al Qaida, issued a statement through a radio station it controls claiming responsibility for the attack.

It said its fighters attacked the university early this morning, began separating Muslims from non-Muslims and started an “operation against the infidels”.

In an audio message released today, an al Shabaab spokesman said the attack had been carried out because “the Christian government of Kenya has invaded our country”, a reference to the Kenyan military’s 2011 incursion into Somalia to oust the al Shabaab from its strongholds. He said the university had been targeted because it was educating many Christian students in “a Muslim land under colony”, a reference to the large Somali population in that part of Kenya. He called the university part of Kenya’s “plan to spread their Christianity and infidelity”.

The siege was a devastating blow in a country that has long been a front-line state in the battle with Islamist extremism. In 2013, al Shabaab mounted an attack on a Nairobi shopping mall that turned into a four-day ordeal, shaking Kenya’s prized sense of stability and leaving 67 people dead.

The Kenyan authorities offered a bounty of 20 million Kenyan shillings (about $215,000)  for information leading to the capture of Mohammed Mohamud, who they said was the “most wanted” suspect in connection with the university attack.  Mohamud also uses the names Dulyadin and Gamadhere.

President Uhuru Kenyatta issued a statement extending condolences to the families of victims and saying that he and his government “continue to pray for the quick recovery of the injured, and the safe rescue of those held hostage”.

The disaster operations centre said that four critically wounded persons had been airlifted to Nairobi, the capital, for treatment.

Sugow, the county spokesman, said the college “hosts students from all over Kenya, of different religious and ethnic backgrounds”.

Augustine Alanga, 21, an economics student at the college, said he had been asleep in his dormitory when the shooting began.

Startled and afraid, he said, he bolted from his room without stopping to put on his shoes, and got cuts on his feet as he sprinted barefoot across the campus and into a nearby forest. “When I looked back, I saw them,” Alanga recalled. “There were five or six of them. They were masked. And they were shooting live rounds.”

The attack began at about 5.30am, when the gunmen forced their way onto the campus by firing at guards at the main gate, according to a statement issued by the office of the inspector general of the National Police Service in Nairobi.

“Police officers who were at the time guarding the students’ hostels heard the gunshots and responded swiftly, and engaged the gunmen in a fierce shootout; however, the attackers retreated and gained entry into the hostels,” the statement said.

“Security agencies arrived and are currently engaged in an elaborate process of flushing out the gunmen.”

The police surrounded and sealed off the campus, and by 11am, three of the college’s four student dormitories had been evacuated, while “the attackers have been cornered in one hostel”, the interior ministry said on Twitter.

Joseph Boinet, the chief of the Kenyan police, ordered a curfew of 6.30pm to 6.30am in four counties in northeastern Kenya, including Garissa, to remain in effect for two weeks.

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Posted by on April 3, 2015. Filed under AFRICA,Breaking News,WORLD NEWS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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