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[I] Kenya university attack: 'They were lined up and executed'
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International

[ 2015-04-04 ]

A relative of one of the students massacred by Somalia's Shebab Islamists at a Kenyan university

Kenya university attack: 'They were lined up and executed'
Most of the 147 victims of a terror attack on a
Kenyan university on Thursday died execution-style
as they lined up waiting for their turn to be
shot, a senior Kenyan government source has told
The Telegraph.
Some students were killed as they spoke to their
parents on the telephone, having been ordered to
call with messages from the gunmen that their aim
was to force Kenyan troops to leave Somalia, the
source added.
"This is the level of depravity that we are
dealing with, it is something beyond the
comprehension of anyone normal like you or I," the
source, who spoke anonymously, said. "These are
not people who can be reasoned with, only force
can stop them."
The suicide vest-clad gunmen, whom the Somali
terror group al-Shabaab claimed as their own after
they stormed Garissa University in northeastern
Kenya, also told students they were "here to make
your Easter holidays better" and warned of further
attacks to come, survivors revealed.
Maureen Manyengo, a 21-year-old Christian from
western Kenyan who was training to be a teacher,
described how she hid inside her wardrobe after
seeing several friends killed.
"I could hear the attackers telling my friends,
'Do not worry, we will kill you, but we will die
too'," she said.
She said the terrorists also told the cowering
students: "We are not bad guys, we are just here
to make your Easter Holiday better."
Reuben Nyaora, an aid worker who was among the
first to enter the university after the
terrorists' final clash with Kenyan special forces
late on Thursday afternoon, described seeing women
rise from among the corpses covered in blood but
unscathed.
"I have seen many things, but nothing like that,"
said Mr Nyaora. "There were bodies everywhere in
execution lines, we saw people whose heads had
been blown off, bullet wounds everywhere. It was a
grisly mess."
So far, 147 people have been confirmed dead and 79
injured in Kenya's worst terror attack for two
decades, but officials have admitted that the
death toll could climb higher still as piles of
bodies are recounted.
Meanwhile, questions remained about how the
15-hour siege reached its final bloody end and how
the death toll jumped from 70 in the late
afternoon to 147 just over an hour later.
Kenya's interior minister confirmed the gunmen had
been strapped with explosives and blew up "like
bombs" as they were shot by an elite special
forces squad.
The Telegraph's government source said that when
the squad reached the room where the attackers
were holed up, they had just six hostages with
them, whom they killed. They then denoted their
vests as they died in a hail of bullets, the
source added.
At the gates of Garissa University, soldiers kept
large crowds of sobbing relatives at bay as
inside, the bodies of those killed were
recounted.
"I am so worried, I had a son who was among the
students trapped inside the college, and since
yesterday I have heard nothing," said Habel
Mutinda, an elderly man, his face streaming with
tears.
"I tried to identify his body among those killed.
I have to do that before the body goes bad in the
heat. I have been camping overnight. It is really
hard, it hurts."
The gunmen targeted Christians over Muslims
according to al-Qaeda guidelines the terrorists
who attacked the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi
two years ago also followed.
One witness described how they headed directly to
a lecture hall where Christian students had
gathered for an early morning prayer session.
Another told how Muslim classmates tried to
dissuade them from their murderous spree, but were
ordered to go to the college's mosque where they
were told they would be safe from harm.
Kenya's government, which has faced criticism for
its failure to act on intelligence to combat
threats, said it would not be "intimidated or
humiliated" by what happened.
"The government is determined to fight back the
terrorists, and I am confident we shall win this
war against our enemies," said Joseph Nkaissery,
the Interior Minister.
World leaders offered their condolences and
renewed pledges of support to the Kenyan
government in tackling the terror threat. Pope
Francis said in a statement he would pray for a
"change of heart" by the terrorists.
"In union with all people of good will throughout
the world, His Holiness condemns this act of
senseless brutality," The Vatican said in a
statement.
Questions are now being asked about how the
authorities reacted to intelligence that an attack
was imminent, potentially on a university, and
whether it has learned lessons from its haphazard
response to the Westgate attack, in which 72
people died.
Peter Aling'o, senior researcher with the
Institute for Security Studies in Nairobi, said
al-Shabaab was taking advantage of "gaps" in
Kenya's intelligence-led security planning.
"I think Kenya hasn't learnt anything at all in
terms of how to respond to terror attacks," he
said. "What we are seeing is a knee-jerk reaction
that sends in security personnel in a manner that
suggests they are not completely aware of what
they are responding to."
Some of those who escaped Thursday's massacre said
posters had been put up around campus and the
university's administrators warned about an
imminent attack but they were "ignored" or
dismissed as an April Fool's prank.
"Yesterday there were those notices, but as it was
April 1, we just thought that it was fooling," a
student named only as Katherine told AFP.
Students from a nearby teacher training college
said they too had been warned that "strangers"
suspected to be terrorists had been spotted in
Garissa in the days leading up to the attack. As a
result, their college was closed and they were
sent home.

Source - The Telegraph



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