A terror attack at Garissa University in Kenya specifically targeting Christians has left 147 people dead and dozens of others wounded during the take-over that lasted for 15 hours until the four militants were killed by security forces.
Over 550 students were evacuated and 79 were injured during the events, which targeted Christians and those who had converted to Islam. Responsibility for the attack was taken by the Somali-based Islamic terrorist group al-Shabab. The group is linked to Al Qaeda and is considered to be the deadliest in Kenya.
According to students, the gunmen stormed the school at 5am and separated Christians from Muslims, holding hostages in the dormitories. Explosives were placed around the Christian hostages.
“Most of us were asleep when the incident happened,” said Nicholas Ntulu, a student at the university. “We heard heavy gunfire and explosions. Every person ran for dear life as we passed the gunmen. Several (students) were shot dead. “There was nobody to help us at the time of the attack,” he said. “The police officers took more than an hour to arrive at the scene.”
Targeting students who were likely to convert to Islam, some students were killed during morning prayers at the mosque, said Kenyan Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery. A difference can be seen between Somali Muslims who were born into Islam and those who have converted because of differing ethnic groups, writes Tonny Onyulo for USA Today.
“We’ll not allow terrorists to divide our country on religious lines,” said Aden Duale, majority leader in Kenya’s National Assembly.
The majority of those killed were students, as well as two security guards, one policeman and one soldier.
A dusk-to-dawn curfew has been implemented in Garissa and three neighboring counties as a result of the attacks. The curfew will be in effect until April 16.
President Uhuru Kenyatta is asking for a rush to be placed on the applications of 10,000 recruits for the Kenya Police College, saying the country is through suffering due to the shortage of personnel.
The White House spoke out against the attacks and offered its assistance to the Kenyan government.
“We extend our deep condolences to the families and loved ones of all those killed in this heinous attack, which reportedly included the targeting of Christian students,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement.
A $220,000 bounty is being offered for Mohammed Mohamud by Kenyan police, who they believe is responsible for the attacks. He is also known as Dulyadin and Gamadhere.