Al-Shahab Militants Attack Kenya Garissa University, Kill 15

Gunmen from the militant Islamist group al-Shabab have killed at least 15 people and taken students hostage at a university in north-eas...

Gunmen from the militant Islamist group al-Shabab have killed at least 15 people and taken students hostage at a university in north-eastern Kenya.

Reports say 65 others were wounded when gunmen stormed the campus in Garissa. The government says troops have killed two attackers but fighting is ongoing.

Over 500 students are unaccounted for, but the number of hostages is unclear. Al-Shabab, a Somali militant group linked to al-Qaeda, said it was holding Christians hostage and freeing Muslims.

Hostages from the two groups had been separated, and 15 of the Muslims had already been released, a spokesman for al-Shabab told the BBC.

Gunfire could be heard at the university, as the interior ministry said forces were “intensifying” the rescue operation. Live updates from Garissa siege The Kenyan government has named Mohamed Kuno, a high-ranking al-Shabab official, as the mastermind of the attack.

It placed a bounty of $217,000 (£140,000) on him. A BBC Somali Service reporter says Mohamed Kuno was headmaster at an Islamic school in Garissa before he quit in 2007. He goes by the nickname “Dulyadeyn”, which means “long-armed one” in Somali.

Shot on the spot’ The gunmen reportedly ordered students at Garissa College University to lie down on the floor, but some of them escaped. “It was horrible, there was shooting everywhere,” student Augustine Alanga told the BBC’s Newsday programme.

He said it was “pathetic” that the university was only guarded by two police officers. Student Collins Wetangula said when the gunmen entered his hostel he could hear them opening doors and asking if the people inside were Muslims or Christians, the AP news agency reports. “If you were a Christian you were shot on the spot.

With each blast of the gun I thought I was going to die,” he said. About five masked gunmen are said to have stormed the university.

Kenya’s Interior Minister Joseph Nkaissery said one of the militants had been killed as he tried to flee. The ministry later tweeted that two attackers were killed by security forces. Out of 815 students, 533 had not yet been accounted for, Mr Nkaissery said.

It is not clear how many students in total were on the premises at the time of the attack.

However, the Kenya National Disaster Operation Centre said all staff at the university had been accounted for.
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