Sun, Apr 05, 2015 - Page 1 News List

Five arrested over Kenya massacre, survivor found

AFP, GARISSA, Kenya

Kenya said yesterday it has arrested five men in connection with the massacre by Somalia’s al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab militants of nearly 150 people at a northeastern university, while a survivor has been found two days after the attack.

Meanwhile, the militants warned of “another bloodbath” and a “long, gruesome war” unless Kenya withdrew its troops from Somalia.

Thursday’s attack on Garissa University, near the border with Somalia, left 148 dead, including 142 students, three police officers and three soldiers. It was Kenya’s deadliest attack since the 1998 bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi and the bloodiest-ever assault by al-Shabaab militants.

Kenyan Ministry of the Interior spokesman Mwenda Njoka said of the five arrested: “Three were the coordinators, who were arrested while trying to flee to Somalia, [and] two were arrested within the precincts of Garissa University.”

The four attackers were killed on Thursday, he said.

The name of the three suspected organizers were not given, but Njoka said the two arrested on campus included a security guard and a Tanzanian named as Rashid Charles Mberesero.

Mberesero was reportedly arrested on the campus on Friday, found hiding as people carried out the grim work of clearing bodies.

“He was hiding in the ceiling of the university and had grenades,” Njoka said.

A US$215,000 bounty has also been offered for alleged al-Shabaab commander Mohamed Mohamud, a former Kenyan teacher believed to now be in Somalia and said to be the mastermind behind the Garissa attack.

Hurling grenades and firing automatic rifles, the attackers stormed the university at dawn on Thursday as students were sleeping, shooting dead dozens before setting Muslims free and holding Christians and others hostage.

Just before darkness fell, Kenyan troops moved in on the dormitory where the attackers were holed up, apparently determined to prevent a drawn-out siege like that seen in the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi in September 2013, also carried out by al-Shabaab fighters.

The militants vowed more attacks against Kenya, which invaded southern Somalia in 2011 and is now fighting alongside African Union forces battling al-Shabaab.

“We will ... stop at nothing to avenge the deaths of our Muslim brothers until your government ceases its oppression and until all Muslim lands are liberated from Kenyan occupation,” al-Shabaab said in a statement yesterday. “Until then, Kenyan cities will run red with blood... This will be a long, gruesome war of which you, the Kenyan public, are its first casualties.”

A survivor who hid in a wardrobe for two days too terrified to come out was yesterday rescued safely, dehydrated, but apparently unharmed, the Kenya Red Cross said.

“She has been taken to hospital and she’s currently undergoing assessment by doctors,” Kenya Red Cross spokeswoman Arnolda Shiundu said.

The 19-year-old woman was initially too scared to come out until a university lecturer she knew came to convince her that the police officers were not the al-Shabaab attackers, police said.

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