Africa

Kenyans protest against al-Shabab after Garissa attack

  • 7 April 2015
  • From the section Africa
Media captionKenyans are still shocked and angry, reports Anne Soy

About 2,500 people have marched in Kenya's Garissa town in a show of defiance against militant Islamist group al-Shabab following its deadly assault on a local university.

Students have also protested in the capital, Nairobi, ahead of a candle-lit vigil demanding more protection from the al-Qaeda-linked Somali militants.

The assault on Garissa University on Thursday killed 148 people.

Five Kenyans have appeared in court for suspected links with the attackers.

The court in Nairobi agreed to the prosecution's request to detain them for another 30 days, while police investigate whether they supplied weapons to the attackers, Kenya's Capital FM reports.

A sixth suspect, a Tanzanian, is being held in the north-eastern town of Garissa, which is about 150km (90 miles) from the border with Somalia.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Students are also marching in Nairobi, saying they can no longer live under the threat of attack
Image copyright AP
Image caption Al-Shabab says it is at war with Kenya

Last Thursday's attack was the deadliest in Kenya by al-Shabab, which was formed in neighbouring Somalia about eight years ago.

The militants have promised a "long, gruesome war" against Kenya after Kenya sent troops to Somalia in 2011 to fight them.

'Mercy'

The BBC's Bashkash Jugsooda'ay in Garissa says both Muslims and Christians took part in the march and promised to co-operate with the security forces to flush out militants who may be hiding in their community.

However, protesters were also critical of the security forces, saying they were slow in their response to the assault, he says.

They pointed out that both the army and police had bases in Garissa. Yet, four gunmen managed to storm the campus, taking students hostage in dormitories and killing them in a day-long attack.


Analysis: Anne Soy, BBC Africa, Nairobi

Image copyright Reuters

There is a hashtag trending on Twitter - #147notjustanumber in memory of the people killed in the Garissa attacks last week.

Kenyans are angry. They feel the government has not done enough to ensure security, especially as there had been material circulating on social media warning about attacks.

Unfortunately it looks like this is leading to profiling of Kenyans of Somali ethnicity - and there are many of them.

Latest updates from Kenya


The government says the security forces responded swiftly, and saved the lives of about 500 other students.

The security forces also came under heavy criticism at the protest in Nairobi by several hundred university students.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The government denies that the military failed to respond swiftly to the assault

Protesters said they were no longer prepared to be "at the mercy of al-Shabab" and demanded that the government tighten security at universities and schools across Kenya.

Demonstrators also mourned the dead, holding placards which read "You remain in our hearts!".

There are emotional scenes at a mortuary in Nairobi, as relatives continue to identify the dead.


Garissa university campus

1. Militants enter the university grounds, two guards are shot dead

2. Shooting begins within the campus

3. Students attacked in their classrooms while preparing for exams

4. Gunmen believed isolated in the female dormitories

5. Some students make an escape through the fence

Kenya's stoic survivors defy al-Shabab

Survivors 'were too scared to scream'

Why is al-Shabab targeting Kenya?


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