Garissa University College in Kenya has been attacked by the Al-Qaeda affiliate al-Shabaab which is based in Somalia. The four heavily armed Islamic extremists carried our the attack which left 147 people dead and 79 injured.
Gunmen attacked before dawn on Thursday morning local time. Several hours later Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack.
Witnesses reported that the militants were moving through the campus dormitories and shooting anyone they thought to be Christian. Joel Ayora, a witness to the attack, said that the gunmen burst into the morning Christian prayers and opened fire, before they “proceeded to the hostels, shooting anybody they came across except their fellows, the Muslims.”
It is reported that Al-Shabaab then took Christian hostages, allowing Muslim students to leave.
One survivor, Japhet Mwala, told AFP "We were sleeping when we heard a loud explosion that was followed by gunshots and everyone started running for safety."
"There are those who were not able to leave the hostels where the gunmen headed and started firing. I am lucky to be alive because I jumped through the fence with other students."
In reponse to the attack, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the expedited recruitment of 10,000 police recruits whose enrollment was pending.
He ordered the inspector general of police to ensure that the recruits promptly report for training at the Kenya Police College, Kiganjo saying, "I take full responsibility for this directive. We have suffered unnecessarily due to shortage of security personnel. Kenya badly needs additional officers, and I will not keep the nation waiting.”
Al-Shabaab has long been waging an insurgency against the government in Somalia. It targets Kenya since that country sent troops to Somalia to aid the government.
Yet in February Al-Shabaab released a video threatening to shift its attack to the USA and the UK. It specifically said it would target malls, in a copy of the the 2013 Westgate mall attack.
Despite the loss of Al-Shabaab’s leader to a US air strike in September 2014, the group carried out an attack on a Kenyan bus in November of that year, killing 28 people, again separating and killing non-Muslims.