147 dead as al-Shabaab attacks Kenyan university

President Uhuru Kenyatta urges calm and vigilance

bbc

Kenyan Police at the scene. Photo/BBC

UPDATE-At least 147 people are dead after al-Shabaab terrorists, stormed Garrissa University early this morning and started firing indiscriminately and taking as many hostages as possible.

Kenyan Military has battled the terrorists and at the scene and freed hundreds of hostages, the siege at the scene is reportedly over. In his brief address to the nation, President Uhuru Kenya extended “condolences to the families of those dead and injured in the attack” and assured Kenyans that his government has responded adequately to the attacks.

Kenyatta also took the “opportunity to urge Kenyans to stay calm as we resolve this matter, and be vigilant as we confront and defeat our enemies.”

The president further directed the Inspector General of Police to have 10,000 police recruits whose enrolment was still pending to report to work as soon as possible.

Kenyatta said he is responsible for this decision, and that the country has suffered at the hands of shortage of security personnel.

This attack comes recent warning by the US government of possible terror attacks in the region targeting places frequented by westerners. As a result, there has been heightened security in East Africa.

It also comes 2 years after the same terrorist group carried out a similar attack at Westgate Shopping mall in Nairobi. 67 people died in this attack, and more than 150 were wounded.

The Somalia-based terrorist organisation allied with al qaeda has always mounted terror attacks in Kenya, accusing it of occupying Somalia. Kenyan troops are part of the African Union Mission fighting al-Shabaab in Somalia.

The terror group has also carried out attacks in Kenya’s neighbors; notably Uganda, where it carried out twin bombings in Kampala and killed 76 people watching 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa.

The trial of the suspects in these attacks had been underway in Kampala until last Monday when the prosecutor in the case was assassinated in Kampala by unidentified gunmen.

The United States has mounted covert (Special Forces and Drone) operations against al-Shabaab leaders in recent months.