Parliament: Terrorists attacking Africa's vision

2015-04-02 17:49
Local residents donate blood at Garissa hospital. (AP)

Local residents donate blood at Garissa hospital. (AP)

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Johannesburg - The terrorist attack on a Kenyan university college on Thursday was not what the continent wanted and threw away the gains achieved through blood, sweat and years of struggle, Parliament's international relations portfolio committee said.

"The frequency of these attacks is concerning, but even more concerning is the civilian deaths, and the catastrophic impact on the economy. The African Union should devise a strategy on how best to deal with insurgency on the continent,” chairperson Siphosezwe Masango said in a statement.

The attacks were against the African Union’s vision of a stable continent, free of wars, terrorism and destabilisation.

The BBC reported that terrorist group Al-Shabaab had claimed responsibility for the attack on Garissa University College, with the group stating that it was holding Christian hostages and releasing Muslims.

Hostages from the two groups had been separated, with 15 Muslims already released, Al-Shabaab told the broadcaster.

Masango called for religious tolerance, especially in East and West Africa, where both Islam and Christianity were both prominent.

“Our priority should be to make Africa a habitable place in the global village and a home to all people,” said Masango.

Earlier, Kenyan police told the BBC that gunmen shot guards at the university's gate around 05:30 local time.

Nearby policemen then exchanged fire with the gunmen, who later fled into the university buildings.

Troops then surrounded the university, nearly 200km from the Somali border, with reports of heavy gunfire and explosions.

The broadcaster reported that at least 15 people have been killed and 65 people injured.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta released a statement on Thursday afternoon, stating that the government had undertaken "appropriate deployment to the affected area, and is fully seized of the situation".

He urged Kenyans to stay calm as they sought to resolve the matter and to provide authorities with any information that may have a connection with any threats to Kenya's security.

"This is a moment for everyone throughout the country to be vigilant as we continue to confront and defeat our enemies," he said.

The country's national disaster operations centre (NDOC) tweeted on Thursday afternoon that all staff at the university had been accounted for, with staff helping track down missing students.

The NDOC had earlier tweeted that 280 out of 815 students had been accounted for, while one person was arrested attempting to leave the scene.

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Read more on:    al-shabaab  |  kenya  |  east africa  |  garissa attack

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