Death toll rises in al-Shabaab attack on Kenya university

2015-04-02 10:45

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At least 14 people were reported killed today when terrorist group al-Shabaab stormed a university campus near Kenya’s border with Somalia, taking students hostage and battling security forces over several hours.

Police and soldiers surrounded and sealed off Garissa University College and were attempting to flush out the gunmen, the head of Kenya’s police force, Joseph Boinet, said.

Al-Shabaab, which has links to al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the pre-dawn raid and said it was holding many Christian hostages inside.

“We sorted people out and released the Muslims,” Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al-Shabaab’s military operations spokesperson, said. “Fighting still goes on inside the college.”

“The attackers shot indiscriminately while inside the university compound,” Boinet said, adding that police had been guarding the university’s four hostels at the time.

At least 14 people had been killed, a police officer at the scene said, while the Red Cross said 50 students had been freed.

Al-Shabaab has in the past carried out attacks in Garissa, which lies about 200km from the porous Somali border, and in other parts of Kenya.

It was responsible for a deadly attack in 2013 on the upscale Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, having declared it would punish Kenya for sending troops into Somalia alongside African Union peacekeepers to fight the group.

Most of the wounded had been hit by gunfire and four were in a critical condition, the country’s National Disaster Operation Centre said on its Twitter feed. Four had been airlifted to Nairobi for treatment, it said.

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