Kenya attack: ‘There were screams and nobody knew if we would survive’

Survivors describe chaotic scenes at university in Garissa after scores killed in al-Shabaab rampage

(The Guardian) Julia Gichuki was fast asleep when she heard the staccato sound of gunfire drawing ever closer to the women’s hostel at her university in the town of Garissa, about 90 miles from the Kenyan border with Somalia.

“I just sprang out of bed and started running,” she told the Guardian. “We didn’t know in which direction to go because bullets were flying everywhere. But we were lucky that the attackers seemed to be targeting the men’s hostel and we managed to flee.”

Kenyan students describe the moment masked gunmen burst into their university compound and started firing.

Julia was one of the lucky ones. By the time militants from the Islamist al-Shabaab group had concluded their deadly rampage, 147 people had been killed and scores were injured, several critically. The gunmen allowed Muslim students to leave the hostel before holding dozens of Christians hostage for more than 12 hours.

The attack – and especially the targeting of young students – has stunned Kenya. It was the worst atrocity in the region since the bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi in 1998, which killed 213 and wounded thousands.

A visibly shaken President Uhuru Kenyatta addressed the nation on Thursday afternoon and promised to bring the killers to book. “This is a moment for everyone throughout the country to be vigilant as we continue to defeat and confront our enemies,” he said.

The interior minister, Joseph Nkaisserry, appointed to the post recently after his ineffective predecessor was fired following a spate of attacks, said four of the assailants in Garissa had been killed. Five hundred students had been rescued, he said.

A dawn-to-dusk curfew was declared in much of Kenya’s restive north, which borders Somalia and which has been the scene of numerous attacks by al-Shabaab.

Kenyan police offered a $220,000 (£150,000) bounty for Mohammed Mohamud, who they said was the mastermind of the attack.

Arnolda Shiundu, of the Red Cross, said the attack began at 5.30am when several of the militants shot their way through the university gate and began firing randomly…

Read More →

Source: The Guardian

Comments are closed.