2015 Kenyan student massacre

2015 Kenyan student massacre

On 2 April 2015, gunmen stormed the Garissa University College in Garissa, Kenya, killing 147 people, and injuring 79 or more. The militant group and Al-Qaeda offshoot, Al-Shabaab, which the gunmen claimed to be from, took responsibility for the attack. The gunmen took over 700 students hostage, freeing Muslims and killing those who identified as Christians. The siege ended the same day, when all four of the attackers were killed. Five men were later arrested in connection with the attack, and a bounty was placed for the arrest of a suspected organizer.

The attack started at around 05:30 am local time. Two unarmed guards were killed at the entrance. 20 students were rescued by soldiers, including Collins Wetangula, who described the presence of at least five masked, armed gunmen, as well as Christians being “shot on the spot”. Other survivors indicated that the shooters had summoned the pupils to get out of their bedrooms in the dormitory and to position themselves face-down on the ground, but then executed the students.

The Kenya Defence Forces and other security agencies were deployed. They surrounded and sealed off the university to flush out the gunmen, with the Interior Ministry and Kenya National Disaster Operation Centre reporting that three out of four dormitories had been evacuated. Michael Bwana, another student who fled, said that “most of the people still inside there are girls”, in reference to the remaining student dormitory where the gunmen were believed to be hiding.

The siege ended after nearly 15 hours, with four gunmen killed just after dusk. The masked attackers wielded AK-47s and were strapped with explosives. When they were shot by Kenyan forces, four of the terrorists were shot by the Recce Squad Commandos of the Kenyan GSU. The fifth terrorist was able to detonate his suicide vest causing injuries to some of the commandos.

Of the 148 dead, 142 were students, 3 were soldiers and 3 were police officers. Around 587 students escaped, but 79 were injured. Authorities said all students have since been accounted for.

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