147 people lost their lives in a bloody day of violence and terror at the Garissa University College in North Eastern Kenya on Thursday before the siege ended later at night.
Interior security minister Joseph Nkaissery said all four terrorists who participated in the dawn attack for which the Somali militant group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility were also killed by security forces.
More than 500 people were rescued while more than seventy were injured, with several having severe injuries.
The gunman attacked the University which is about 100Km from the border between Kenya and Somalia in early hours of Thursday killing students and guards indiscriminately.
Reports said the four gunmen pretended to be going for prayers only to start shooting at the students after what reports say was a separation of the students according to their faiths. It was reported that the gunmen asked students their religion before shooting at them.
The slaughter at Garissa University College, where heavily armed attackers struck at 5am, prompted President Uhuru Kenyatta to order 10,000 police recruits, whose enrollment was contested in court, to promptly report for training at the Kenya Police College, Kiganjo.
“This is a moment for everyone throughout the country to be vigilant as we continue to confront and defeat our enemies,” President Kenyatta told a shocked nation in a televised address from State House, Nairobi Thursday.
There was still shooting last night, even though the government had said the siege was over. No rescue workers were allowed into the campus by the military.
The government had said it was merely “mopping up” just in case any of the attackers were still on the campus.
One suspect, described as a terrorist by the government, was reportedly arrested while leaving the college. The attack is said to have been masterminded by a former school teacher at Garissa who is now on the run.
In response to the attack, the government slapped a dawn to dusk curfew on four counties bordering Somalia — Mandera, Wajir, Garissa and Tana River — and ordered residents to remain indoors between 6.30pm and 6.30am.
In an attack similar to, but worse than the 2013 one at Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall, five attackers gained entry into the university, a constituent college of Eldoret’s Moi University, after killing guards at the main gate.
Parents of the students who study at the college said their children have been complaining about security fearing for their lives almost on a daily basis.
Al Shabab has carried out past attacks in Kenya. In 2013, it claimed responsibility for an assault on Nairobi’s upscale Westgate Mall that left more than 60 dead.