Gunmen from the terror group al-Shabab opened fire at Garissa University College early Thursday morning. USA Today reports at least 147 are dead, more than 79 are wounded, and the gunmen took Christian hostages.
The al-Shabab group has actually taken credit for the attack as their military spokesman, Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, stated, “We sorted people out and released the Muslims. Fighting still goes on inside the college.”
The spokesman continued to say that the gunmen were holding numerous Christian hostages.
The attack began around 5:30 a.m. local time as the gunmen shot the guards at the university’s main gate. According to USA Today, Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet stated that a “fierce shootout” broke out between the terrorists and the officers in charge of guarding the dorms.
Boinnet goes on further to say, “[T]he attackers retreated and gained entry into the hostels. The officers called for reinforcements, who are engaged in an elaborative process of flushing out the gunmen from the hostels.”
A student at the Garissa University College, Augustine Alanga, 21, reported to BBC News, “It was horrible, there was shooting everywhere.”
Alanga boldly exclaimed that in such a volatile area, it is “pathetic” that only two guards were stationed to protect the university.
He revealed that he saw at least five heavily-masked gunmen and witnessed some students who stayed inside while others ran for their lives while shots were being fired at them.
USA Today reports Collins Wetangula, vice chairman of the university’s student union, was just starting his morning routine when the unimaginable happened. Just as he was about to take his shower, Wetangula heard gunshots. His gut reaction was to immediately lock himself and his three roommates in their dorm room.
“All I could hear were footsteps and gunshots nobody was screaming because they thought this would lead the gunmen to know where they are. The gunmen were saying sisi ni al-Shabab (we are al-Shabab).”
Wetangula listened as he heard the terrorists busting into room after room, shouting at the students and asking if they were Muslims or Christians, according to USA Today.
“If you were a Christian you were shot on the spot. With each blast of the gun I thought I was going to die.”
As the gunmen moved on without finding Wetangula and his roommates, Kenyan military arrived and rescued him and 20 other students inside his dorm.
Currently, three of the four dorms have been evacuated and the gunmen are taking refuge in the last dorm. One of the terrorists was killed as he tried to escape.
Abbas Gullet, secretary general of the Kenyan Red Cross, informed the New York Times, “It is ongoing. There are students that are being held against their will by these terrorists in the dormitories.”
Al-Shabab, which is linked to Al-Qaeda, is releasing Muslims and keeping the Christians hostage. Alanga says Muslims who were praying in the Mosque were left alone by the terrorists.
Kenya’s Interior Minister Joseph Nkaissery reported to BBC News that out of the university’s 815 students, 535 of them have not yet been accounted for.
The Associated Press reports that Kenya’s National Disaster Operations Center said, “29 people wounded during the attack have been admitted to a local hospital, four of them in critical condition. Most have gunshot wounds.”
The military has surrounded both the university and the hospital, and most businesses in the town have closed as the fear of violence continues.
It is the goal of Al-Shabab to form an Islamic state in Somalia, while staying true to their “vow of retribution on Kenya for sending troops into Somalia to fight against the militants,” as reported by the Associated Press.
The American Embassy in Nairobi issued a public statement, saying, “We are saddened & angered by today’s terrorist attack at Garissa University. Our deepest condolences 2 family/friends of victims.”
Since this story was published, the attack has finally come to an end almost 15 hours after it started. According to CNN, four gunmen were killed, but not before the death toll was an astounding 147, with over 79 injured. CNN reports, “The death toll is the highest in a terror attack on Kenyan soil since the U.S. Embassy was bombed in 1998. More than 200 people died in the Nairobi blast.”
[Photo Credit: BBC.com]