Garissa University slaughter by Al-Shabaab-UPDATE

 

attack kenya

 

‘Footsteps and Gunshots’: Witnesses Describe Kenya University Raid

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ICC Note: In the aftermath of Thursday’s horrific mass killing at a university where Islamic militants Al-Shabaab specifically targeted Christians, terrifying details are emerging detailing the horrors first-hand. At the end of the day, 147 people were killed, mostly Christians, and dozens wounded. The attackers separated Christians from Muslims and summarily executed the Christian students, letting the Muslims go free.

4/3/2015 Garissa, Kenya (BBC) – Students at Kenya’s Garissa university awoke on Thursday morning to the sound of gunmen prowling the campus, shooting at their classmates. Nearly 150 people were killed in what would become the deadliest attack yet by al-Shabab militants in Kenya. Witnesses have been describing what happened.

“All I could hear were footsteps and gunshots,” student Collins Wetangula told the Associated Press news agency. “Nobody was screaming because they thought this would lead the gunmen to where they are.”

“The gunmen were saying, ‘Sisi ni al-Shabab,'” he said – Swahili for “We are al-Shabab.”

The raid began at dawn – about 0530 local time (0230 GMT). Two Toyota Probox cars drove up to the university gates, according to Kenyan daily newspaper The Star. Five gunmen got out, wearing masks and jungle-style fatigues, the paper says.

They shot dead two guards at the gate and entered the campus. A labourer named Boaz Muanja told The Star he initially mistook the gunmen for police officers – until they began firing in his direction.

A student said she too mistook the armed men for police when she went to check on an explosion at the gates. “All of a sudden I saw them throw explosives… where the Christian Union members were praying,” she said.

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An unknown number of students are being held hostage after gunmen stormed Garissa University. As the jihadists—Al-Shabaab engaged in a shoot out with authorities, killed over 70 people, injured many and taken have taken hostages. The group says they are “holding many Christians alive.”

Around 5:30 a.m, the attack came as morning prayers were began at the university mosque. The worshipers were not attacked by the gunmen. The attack sent the students scattering for safety. Many of the university’s 815 students have not been accounted for.

Witnesses said they divided Christian students from Muslims, and then gunned them down without mercy. Many ran for their lives through a spray of bullets to find cover. Others escaped the dorms with the help of military soldiers at the scene. Another witness claimed, “Most of the people still inside there are girls.” Defense forces have the area surrounded..

Al-Shabaab originated as a branch of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), which splintered into several smaller factions after its defeat in 2006 by Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the TFG’s Ethiopian military allies. The group describes itself as waging jihad against “enemies of Islam.” The group fights for the creation of a fundamentalist Islamic state.

Al-Shabaab is said to have many foreigners within its ranks, including recruiting those from western countries—particularly at the leadership level.

Al-Shabaab has been designated as a terrorist organization by Australia, Canada, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States. As of June 2012, the US State Department has open bounties on several of the group’s senior commanders.

In 2011, Al-Shabaab claimed NGO’s were conducting illegal and inappropriate activities and banned all foreign non-governmental organizations from areas under its control. In retaliation for these alleged ulterior motives, it’s members intimidated, kidnapped and killed NGO and international workers, leading the organizations to suspend or withdraw their operations.

Their focus had primarily been within Somalia, but they have carried out deadly strikes in the region. The group took a hard hit and was weakened in the efforts to eradicate them.  They now seem more focused on creating fear and chaos through terrorism on easy targets where the number of casualties may be large. In the struggle for influence and recognition, Al-Shabaab has been trying to maintain its relevancy similar to radicals such as ISIS, Al Qaeda and the Boko Haram who they have ties with. The jihadi-linked group has been blamed for multiple attacks, including the terror operation at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi in 2013. In the attack they executed 67 unarmed men, women and children.

VIDEO REPORT.

Kenyans are angry and nearly 2,500 people filled the streets in protest of al-Shabaab in Garissa, Kenya. Marchers pledged to snuff out the al-Shabaab operatives in the wake of the attack last Thursday, April 2, which killed 148 people, mostly Christians.

Pray that Kenyans will continue to remain united and speak out against al-Shabaab

Pray that security forces will be able to flush out any remaining militants who are hiding in the community of Garissa

Pray that that the attackers will be brought to justice

UPDATE…

One Year After Garissa, Suffering Kenyan Christians Can Teach Us All a Lesson of Faith
By James Kake and Troy Augustine, Regional Manager for Africa
04/05/2016 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Anastaciah Mikwa calls the last 365 days the worst year of her life. Today, she remains unable to walk, struggling to take even a single step.

Anastaciah is one of scores of Kenyan college students permanently scarred from the brutal April 2015 al-Shabaab attack of Garissa University College in northeastern Kenya. During the assault, militant Islamist gunmen stormed the campus, murdering 148 people, mostly Christians, as they moved door to door to separate Christians from Muslims and slaughter believers.
Today, despite the pain and physical trials, Anastaciah thanks God to be alive. She is the only survivor from her dorm room, while three of her roommates were killed, sustaining gunshot wounds to their heads.
“It’s by the grace of God that they missed my head, but they shot me below my waist several times until they made sure I was dead,” Anastaciah told International Christian Concern’s (ICC) Kenya staffer.
Anastaciah was flown to Nairobi for treatment, along with multitudes of other wounded students.
“I gained my consciousness in the hospital and I am thankful to God for sparing my life. A…big thank you to the doctors who were dedicated in treating me to be what I am today. I have undergone 28 surgeries. It’s by God’s mercy towards me to be alive today,” Anastaciah told ICC.
Yet, for Anastaciah, the road ahead is long, and it’s even longer for those who lost loved ones.
Persecution’s Ongoing Effects
One of the toughest aspects of persecution is healing from the trauma afterwards. Sometimes the emotional and spiritual pain hurts worse and lingers longer than physical scars.
Anastaciah and dozens of other Christian students who survived the Garissa attack never desire to go back, instead opting to transfer to other Kenyan colleges, such as Moi University in central Kenya.
Leonard Rotich is one of those transfers. He says the attack’s effects remain ongoing one year later.
“I lost my closest friends in that attack and I never want to go back to Garissa University again,” he told ICC. “Many of those that died were the first in their family to go to university, only to return home in caskets. Most families are still traumatized,” he added.
Persecution hurts so many beyond the number of those who survive attacks like Garissa. Brothers, sisters, friends, parents, and pastors all scratch to find hope despite their own pain. They still battle the trauma that comes with worrying that day about their child’s safety, expecting the dreaded phone call that their son or daughter numbered among the 148.
“When we heard that Garissa University was attacked we were deeply saddened and we were waiting for any news about our daughter,” Anastaciah’s father Peter told ICC. “We received a phone call the same day in the evening from the Defense Forces Memorial Hospital in Nairobi and informed us that Anastaciah was already in the Intensive Care Unit. This relieved our hearts and we continued to pray for her. We knew she was in a critical condition and anything can happen. We got depressed,” he remembered.
Such devastating trials test the resolve of Christian faith for those of us who claim the promise that God works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
Lessons from the Persecuted
One year later, Anastaciah’s family presses on, grasping to this hope. They held a thanksgiving ceremony on the anniversary of the attack to pray and fellowship with church family.
God’s Word says that He ordains trials, “so that the tested genuineness of your faith-more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire-may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:7, ESV).”
The persecuted Church in Kenya teaches us what persevering faith looks like in the midst of hard trials. This is the clarion call for pastors ministering in Garissa to their flocks.
“God is always just and we should learn to appreciate his will, depend on him for strength, and thank Him for the gift of life because there is nothing that can compensate the lost lives of the students,” Pastor Daniel*, a Garissa-based church leader told ICC.
Pastor Daniel ministers to Christian students who are left coping with the memories of April 2. He also faithfully preaches the Gospel to the Muslim majority in Garissa, despite threats and opposition.
These examples show God’s power in sustaining His Church. If Jesus Himself represents the One most persecuted, he told his followers to expect nothing less.
“This one year has being my worst ever, my family has struggled to take care of me, and my friends have been on my side to strengthen me. Every time I hear a bang or blast I get shocked and sometimes fall down,” Anastaciah told ICC.
However, as Jesus, her sympathetic High Priest walks alongside his chosen daughter, He promises comfort for the journey ahead.
“I know with time I shall overcome this. My legs are getting better every day and now I can stand without the help of my crutches,” Anataciah rejoiced.

*False name used for security

For interviews with Troy Augustine, Regional Manager for Africa, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org, (301)-859-3842
 
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You are free to disseminate this news story. We request that you reference International Christian Concern (ICC) and include our web address, www.persecution.org. ICC is a Washington D.C.-based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC provides Awareness, Advocacy, and Assistance to the worldwide persecuted Church. 
 
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