AFP: CARL DE SOUZA
April 04, 2015
Kenyan police have arrested five people in connection with the attack on a university that saw nearly 150 killed and scores injured, while intelligence suggests a second attack is planed for a Ugandan educational institution.
Uganda’s police chief says the country is on high alert, as new intelligence points to an attack at another educational institution, in a possible repeat of the attack in Kenya.
Masked Al Shabaab gunmen strapped with explosives stormed the Garissa University College campus, around 200 kilometres from the Somali border, in a pre-dawn rampage on Thursday.
The day-long siege ended in a hail of heavy gunfire.
Hurling grenades and firing automatic rifles, the gunmen stormed the university as students were sleeping, shooting dead dozens before setting Muslims free and holding Christians and others hostage.
“Kenya’s government will not be intimidated by the terrorists who have made killing innocent people a way to humiliate the government,” Interior minister Joseph Nkaissery told reporters on Friday.
“The government is determined to fight back the terrorists, and I am confident we shall win this war against our enemies.”
Many have voiced concerns over intelligence failings to prevent the attack, as students were warned an attack was imminent without action taken to protect them.
In Nairobi, heavily armed police, some with body armour, are patrolling the streets ahead of Easter Sunday tomorrow.
Campus cleanup continues
Emergency workers have set about collecting bodies still sitting around the campus, while Kenyan soldiers patrol the university.
“Our security officers are mopping up the college, to ensure it is safe to for students to come back to secure their documents and other property,” Mr Nkaissery said, adding that the college had “closed indefinitely”.
Survivors recounted how the gunmen taunted students before killing them, including forcing them to call their parents to urge them to call for Kenyan troops to leave Somalia, before then still shooting them.
The bodies of most of the students killed in the attack have been brought to the Kenyan capital Nairobi for formal identification, after local hospital facilities in Garissa were overloaded by the number of dead.
Dozens of family members gathered on Friday at the main Nairobi mortuary to identify their relatives.
Al Shabaab sought ‘soft targets’
Analysts have suggested that the Islamist gunmen who massacred the sleeping students had intentionally chosen Garissa University College as an “easy target”, fully aware of crippling corruption and mismanaged security at the school.
The mass killing was meant to strike at the heart of Kenya’s society and economy, Abdirashid Hashi, director of the Somalia’s Heritage Institute for Policy Studies, said.
“By attacking soft targets, Al Shabaab’s strategy is to devastate tourism, terrorise citizenry and sow discord,” Mr Hashi said.
He said the dramatic attack was intended to generate publicity for the group, which has been significantly weakened in Somalia by US drone strikes killing a string of commanders, and the loss of all key towns to African Union forces.
Faced with pressure in Somalia, Al Shabaab are trying “to survive by attacking the only country in the region where it is easy”, Herve Maupeu from France’s University of Pau said.
Al Shabaab had also carried out the Westgate shopping mall massacre in Nairobi in September 2013 when four gunmen killed 67 people in a four-day siege.
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