Gunmen take university students hostage in Kenya

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. Troops are fighting the gunmen.
More than 500 students were still unaccounted for, a minister said. The number of hostages is unclear.
Al-Shabab, which is 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.
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 who had hidden inside were Muslims or Christians, 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 told journalists that one of the militants had been killed as he tried to flee.
Out of 815 students, 535 had not yet been accounted for, he said.
It is not clear how many students in total were on the premises at the time of the attack.
The Kenya National Disaster Operation Centre said all staff at the university had been accounted for and were helping to track the students.

Kenyan officials say security forces have isolated the gunmen in a single building at the university. There were reports of some militants firing from a university hostel roof.
Security forces were now trying to flush out the gunmen, a police statement on Twitter said. It urged people to stay away from the area.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta offered his condolences to families of the victims in a statement.
He also ordered “urgent steps” to ensure police recruits could begin training immediately. “We have suffered unnecessarily due to shortage of security personnel,” he said.
Credit: BBC

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