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Kenya atrocity

May 2015

Students and supporters marched in downtown Nairobi, soon after Easter, to honour the 148 young people, many of them Christians, who died at the hands of al-Shabab terrorists at Garissa University College, Kenya.

According to a report from Al-Jazeera, the crowd also called on the government for better security, in the wake of the killings, as they progressed down main thoroughfares in the Kenyan capital, sometimes sitting in traffic circles and intersections.

One demonstrator held a sign that read, ‘Comrades are tired of al-Shabab’. After marching through the city, the students held a vigil at the university.

Following the shootings, which stunned the entire nation, religious leaders called on Kenyans to practise unity and not division. 

During Good Friday services, Anglican Archbishop Julius Kalu of Mombasa, a coastal city in south-eastern Kenya, said the terrorists were trying to divide the country over religious differences. Various reports state that the Kenyan government faces calls to do more to protect its borders with Somalia. 

Al-Shabab, which is a Somalia-based Islamist terror group, carried out the massacre that began around 5.30am on Maundy Thursday. Most Muslim students were at mosque for morning prayers and Christian students were still asleep in their dorms. 

The masked attackers took over 700 students hostage and, according to eyewitnesses speaking to BBC News, asked who was Muslim and who was not. If someone claimed to be Muslim but could not answer questions about the Quran, they were gunned down. The siege ended when four of the attackers were killed.

The Muslim community in Garissa County has come out in strong condemnation of al-Shabab. Abdullahi Salat, chairman of the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims, said, ‘Our heartfelt condolences go to the victims’ families. This is an international war and can only be won if everyone takes part’.

Meanwhile, international leaders used Easter addresses to highlight the plight of people under immediate threat from groups such as Islamic State, al-Shabab and Boko Haram. In his Easter message, Dr Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, said that Christians must support persecuted communities, with ‘love and goodness and generosity’.