al-Shabaab singled out Christians students for the killing, sparing the life if muslims.At least 147 people, mostly students, have been killed in an assault by al-Shabaab militants on a university in Garissa, north-eastern Kenya, 150 km from Somalia.
al-Shabaab heavily armed attackers stormed Garissa University early on Thursday, killing two security guards then firing indiscriminately and randomly on students.
It is alleged The attackers singled-out Christians students and shot them during the attacks, protecting muslims.
The kenya’s security forces eventually surrounded the four al-Shabaab gunmen during the attack. They end-up committing suicide by detonating their suicide vests detonated.
It is the deadliest attack yet by al-Shabaab.
‘We came to kill or finally be killed.’
More than 500 students managed to escape, 79 of whom were injured. A fifth gunman has reportedly been arrested.
Eric Wekesa, a student at Garissa, told Reuters he locked himself in his room before eventually fleeing.
“What I managed to hear from them is ‘We came to kill or finally be killed.’ That’s what they said.”
“It was horrible, there was shooting everywhere,”
Another student, Augustine Alanga told the BBC’s Newsday programme – it was pathetic that the university was only guarded by two police officers.
A disaster manager said – Nine critically injured students were airlifted to the capital Nairobi for treatment.
An overnight curfew has been implemented in Garissa and three other counties in Kenya.
Several reaction fuses from around the world, all condemning the attack.
– As Usual, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attack and said this was a “terrorist attack” adding “the UN was ready to help Kenya prevent and counter terrorism and violent extremism”.
– The United States said it was offering Nairobi assistance to take on al-Shabaab and would continue to work with others in the region to take on the group.
– The Kenyan government has named Mohamed Kuno and Ahmed Iman as the Garissa University College attack
masterminds, and offered a Sh2m (£14,607, $21,556) reward for any information that would lead to the arrest of the two.
– Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta offered his condolences to families of the victims and ordered “urgent steps” to ensure police recruits could begin training immediately. “We have suffered unnecessarily due to shortage of security personnel,” he said.
According to a reports by BBC Africa analyst MAry Harper:
Al-Shabaab says it attacked the university because it is at war with Kenya.
Le Vrai Patriote can recall that Kenyan troops entered Somalia in October 2011 in an effort to stop the Islamists from crossing the long, porous border between the two countries and kidnapping people – but their presence achieved the opposite effect, provoking al-Shabaab to increase its activity in Kenya, our correspondent adds.
The group was also behind the Westgate shopping mall attack, when 67 people were killed.
How the attack took place?
1. Militants enter the university grounds, two guards are shot dead
2. Shooting begins within the campus
3. Students attacked in their classrooms while preparing for exams
4. Gunmen believed isolated in the female dormitories
5. Some students make an escape through the fence
As Kenyan organise to counter the terrorist group al-Shabaab, Le Vrai Patriote look at who al-Shabaab and the purported masterminds of the attack really are.
Who are al-Shabaab?
Al-Shabaab means The Youth in Arabic.
It emerged as the radical youth wing of Somalia’s now-defunct Union of Islamic Courts, which controlled Mogadishu in 2006, before being forced out by Ethiopian forces.
There are numerous reports of foreign jihadists going to Somalia to help al-Shabaab, from neighbouring countries,
as well as the US and Europe.
It is banned as a terrorist group by both the US and the UK and is believed to have between 7,000 and 9,000
What started as a largely Somali movement has become a regional one, with growing numbers of Kenyan recruits. Al-Shabaab has recently released propaganda videos aimed at a Kenyan audience. There are also unconfirmed reports that like Boko Haram, al-Shabaab is considering switching allegiance to Islamic State in order to remain relevant.
What is al-Shabaab in doing in Kenya?
Al-Shabaab has staged numerous attacks in Kenya and the most recent attack of the university in Garissa, near the border with Somalia is one of them.
The biggest attack was on Nairobi’s Westgate shopping centre in 2013 when at least 68 people were killed.
In Westgate, and other attacks, its fighters have spared Muslims, while killing those unable to recite verses from the Koran.
There are also regular gun and grenade attacks attributed to al-Shabaab both in border areas, where many Kenyans are ethnic Somalis, and in Nairobi.
Kenya has sent its troops into Somali territory, where they have joined the African Union forces battling the militants.
Al-Shabaab has also set up a recruiting network in Kenya, luring in young Kenyans with their cash. Especially targeting disillusioned young men in Kenya’s poorest neighbourhoods around the port city of Mombasa, which has a large Muslim population.
One 24-year-old former recruit, whose identity is protected, told the BBC he was paid more than $1,000 (£640) to join the group.
Mohamed Kuno, knicknamed Gamadhere
Kuno is described as an Al-Shabaab commander, he is the mastermind behind the attack of the University of Garissa according to the Kenyan government. He has been on the run since December 2014 when he was identified as the commander who oversaw the killing of 58 Kenyans in Mandera on 22 November 2014. Kuno has three aliases – Sheikh Mahamad, Dulyadin and Gamadhere.
According to reports seen by Le Vrai Patriote, Kuno is a former Kenyan teacher. He moved to Somalia at the time of the Islamic Courts Union, which later metamorphosed into Al-Shabaab, and he became part of it. He uses his family members to carry out terrorist acts in northern Kenya. Some sources named his associates as Adam Kuso, Khalid Dheere and Mohamud Taro.
Kuno is Al-Shabaab’s leader for the Juba region in Somalia – which shares a vast border with Kenya, and touches Mandera, Garissa, Wajir and Lamu counties – and is currently in charge of external operations against Kenya.
A statement said “He commands the militia along the border and is responsible for cross-border incursions in the country. In the recent past, he has intensified attacks in northern Kenya and the Coast region, particularly Garissa, Mandera and Lamu,” says the statement.
Ahmed Iman, the second man
The Kenyan government has also named a second man, Ahmed Iman, who heads the video production section within the Al-Shabaab media department and is responsible for the preparation of the terror outfit’s propaganda messages.
Iman, who is from Majengo in Nairobi, is reported to have produced videos after the September 2013 Westgate Mall attack and, more recently, after the Mandera attacks on November 2014.
In the recent video, Iman has claimed that the Mandera killings were carried out to avenge the killing of radical preachers aligned to Al-Shabaab – such as Sheikh Aboud Rogo, Abubakhar Sheikh Ahmed aka Makaburi, and Sheikh Samir Khan.
Radicalised under the tutelage of the late Aboud Rogo, Iman had worked for a leading oil company in Kenya before joining Al-Shabaab.
Reports also point to Iman’s time as the secretary of Pumwani Riyadha Mosque, where he led youths in a hostile takeover of the mosque before leaving for Somalia in 2009.