The terrorist attack on a remote college in Kenya has finally come to an end, with the deaths of the four Islamist terrorists who conducted most of the attack. The death toll in this al-Shabaab massacre now stands at 147 students, with many people still not accounted for in the school. Sky News has a fresh report on the end of the massacre, as well as footage taken during it:
CBS News talked to some survivors, who made it clear that al-Shabaab intended to massacre Christians, just as they did with the Westgate Mall attack. The government knew that the school had been threatened by al-Shabaab, but did nothing to increase security at the college:
One of the survivors of Thursday’s attack, Collins Wetangula, told The Associated Press he was preparing to take a shower when he heard gunshots coming from Tana dorm, which hosts both men and women, 150 yards away. The campus has six dorms and at least 887 students, he said. …
“All I could hear were footsteps and gunshots. Nobody was screaming because they thought this would lead the gunmen to know where they are,” he said.
He added: “The gunmen were saying, ‘Sisi ni al-Shabaab,'” — Swahili for “We are al-Shabaab.”
He heard the attackers arrive at his dormitory, open the doors and ask if the people who had hidden inside 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.”
AFP interviewed people in Nairobi, who still find themselves in shock over the attack. “How do you attack students?” one man asked, while another sadly tells AFP that “we didn’t learn the lesson from the Westgate attack”:
Australia’s News.com.au reports that the attackers had good intel about the campus and where to find the Christians. Either they scouted the campus, or they had inside help:
THE Islamic extremists who slaughtered 147 people at a college in Kenya as they shouted ‘God is great’ appeared to have planned extensively, even targeting a site where Christians had gone to pray, survivors said on Friday. …
One of the first things that the al-Shabab gunmen did when they assaulted the campus early Thursday, survivor Helen Titus said, was to head for a lecture hall where Christians were in early morning prayer. Al-Shabab is a Somalia-based extremist group with ties to al-Qaeda.
“They investigated our area. They knew everything,” Helen Titus told The Associated Press at a hospital in Garissa where she was being treated for a bullet wound to the wrist. Officials said 79 people were wounded.
Titus, a 21-year-old English literature student, said she covered her face and hair with the blood of classmates and lay still at one point during al-Shabab’s deadliest attack on Kenyan soil in hopes the Islamic extremist gunmen would think she was dead.
The statement from al-Shabaab called this a part of the war that Kenya had declared on Somalia against al-Shabaab, and that the killings would stop when Kenya removes its troops from the neighboring state. That doesn’t explain, though, the targeting of unarmed Christian students — nor is it likely to convince Kenya to lay off al-Shabaab. They put a bounty on the head of the man suspected of organizing the terror strike, as newspapers criticized the lack of security but also called for unity in the face of an attempt to start a civil war in Kenya.
Clearly, al-Shabaab has remained a serious threat to the region after Westgate, and just as clearly they want to wipe out Christians almost more than they want power in Somalia. They seem to have given up on the latter in favor of soft targets for the former.
On Good Friday, the Christians of the West need to pray for our brothers and sisters in these regions, and start working to find ways to make them safe.