Thursday, 2 April 2015

Gunmen storm Kenya's Garissa University College

Gunmen have stormed a university compound in north-eastern Kenya. Heavy gunfire and explosions have been heard at Garissa University College near the border with Somalia.

Local media say that two policemen and a student have been injured and rushed to hospital, and Kenyan defence forces are said to have arrived at the scene.

It is not clear who is responsible for the attack, but Somali al-Shabab militants have frequently targeted Kenya in the past few years.

Exchange of fire

There are reports that hostages have been taken by the gunmen but this has not been confirmed.
Witnesses have told local media that the attackers struck during morning prayers at the college mosque.
Smoke was reported to be coming from one of the buildings.

One eyewitness, Bashkas Jugsooda'ay, told the BBC he had spoken to one teacher who said students had come to her house at 05:00 (02:00 GMT), running away from the gunfire.
He said explosions and an exchange of gunfire could still be heard in the college.

The BBC's Anne Soy in Nairobi says that because of its proximity to the Somali border, Garissa is an easy target for al-Shabab militants and there have been several attacks in the past.
The city has a large population of Kenyan Somalis.

Al-Shabab has carried out a number of attacks in Kenya since 2011, when Kenyan troops were sent to Somalia to help fight the militant group there.

The deadliest attack targeted the Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi in September 2013, when 67 people were killed.

Al-Shabab is fighting to create an Islamic state in Somalia and is banned as a terrorist group by both the US and the UK.

Source:
BBC