Heavily armed gunmen stormed Garissa University College in Kenya early Thursday. Somalia-based Islamist group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack.
Christian students were taken hostage after separated from Muslims
“Kenyan cities will run red with blood,” said al-Shabab according to the SITE intelligence monitoring group.
The Islamic militants said the attack on Garissa college was in retaliation for killings carried out by Kenyan troops fighting the rebels in Somalia.
“No amount of precaution or safety measures will be able to guarantee your safety, thwart another attack or prevent another bloodbath,” said al-Shabab.
Following the extremists’ threats, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta vowed to take harsh measures against the Islamic militants.
Four of the attackers were killed.
Hundreds of residents turned out in the traffic-clogged streets Saturday to view the bodies of four men alleged to have carried out a bloody campus assault here, even as Somali militants issued a statement threatening Kenya with more attacks.
“I want to see them,” Muna Haji said. “I want to know that these people are dead. They have killed innocent people.”
The four naked bodies were loaded haphazardly into the back of the pickup truck at the morgue where they had been held since morning. Local and international forensics teams had taken their clothes as evidence.
The truck paraded the bodies through town as residents ran alongside, clamoring for a glimpse, until it arrived at Garissa Primary School. There, it parked, and the bodies sat. Flies gathered on the bloated limbs hanging from the truck bed as the crowd swelled.
Four suspects were Kenyans of Somali origin, and the fifth was Tanzanian, the ministry said. The suspected mastermind, Mohamed Mohamud, a former teacher at a Garissa madrasa, is still on the run. Kenya has offered a 20 million shillings (€196,000) reward for his arrest.
The early morning attack on Garissa University College was preceded by travel warnings by the UK and Australia last week.
The UK in particular said it was recommending only “essential travel” to areas around the Coast and northeastern, including Garissa County.
The Kenyan government had also directed universities, especially those in Nairobi, to advise students on to be “vigilant” and report any suspicious sights on the campus or wherever they are.
Since 2011, it is estimated that more than 300 people have been killed by terrorist attacks in Kenya.