Al-Shabaab says they are “holding many Christians alive” after claiming responsibility for the attack at Garissa University that left dozens more injured and hundreds of students unaccounted for.
Hours after the assault began, Kenyan security forces corner
ed the gunmen in a dormitory at the school, and President Uhuru Kenyatta said in a speech to the nation that the attackers were holding hostages.
“There are many dead bodies of Christians inside the building,” Al-Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab told Sky News. “We are also holding many Christians alive. Fighting still goes on inside the college.”
Kenya’s interior ministry said two of the attackers have been killed. Kenyan TV reported that the operation is over, but the number of fatalities is high.
Collins Wetangula, the vice chairman of the student union, said when the gunmen arrived at his dormitory he could hear them opening doors and asking if the people who had hidden inside whether they were Muslims or Christians.
“If you were a Christian you were shot on the spot,” he said. “With each blast of the gun I thought I was going to die.”
The gunmen started to shoot rapidly and it was as if there was an exchange of fire, he said.
Michael Bwana, a 20-year-old student who fled the attack, said he and other survivors have been trying to call their trapped friends but their phones are switched off. Either the students turned off their phones for their own safety or the gunmen have seized the handsets, he said.
“Most of the people still inside there are girls,” Bwana said, referring to the student dormitory in which gunmen are believed to be holding an unknown number of students.