Gunmen attack Kenyan university | News | DW | 02.04.2015
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Gunmen attack Kenyan university

Unidentified masked gunmen have stormed a university in Kenya. Somali Islamist group al Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attack, in which several people were killed and hostages were taken.

Masked gunmen on Thursday set off explosions and exchanged gunfire with security forces at a university in northeastern Kenya after storming the campus.

A police source told Reuters news agency he had counted 14 bodies of dead people being taken away by ambulance. A police spokeswoman told Reuters earlier that two security guards at the campus had been killed, adding that the gunmen may have taken hostages, with many students still trapped in the campus.

Police surrounding the campus of the Garissa University College had been joined by Kenyan military, media reports said. The security forces were reported to be trying to dislodge the gunmen after cornering them in one dormitory where they may be holding hostages.

Witnesses said the attack started at a mosque on the campus, with the gunmen posing as worshippers.

Kenyan Police Chief Joseph Boinet said the gunmen had shot indiscriminately inside the compound.

The Kenya National Disaster Operation Centre said the number of people injured had risen to 65, after previously putting the figure at 29.

More than 800 students attend the university and sleep in the dormitories there.

At a press conference in Nairobi, Interior Minister Joseph Nkaissery said one suspected gunmen had been arrested while he was trying to flee. He said most of those trapped in the dormitory where the gunmen have holed up were girls.

'Christian hostages held'

The Somali Islamist group al Shabab, which has carried out several other attacks in Garissa and across Kenya, has claimed responsibility for the attack.

It also says it is holding several Christian hostages.

"We sorted people out and released the Muslims," a spokesman for the group told Reuters news agency.

The Red Cross said 50 students had been freed by the gunmen.

The university is located some 150 kilometers (90 miles) from the border to war-torn Somalia.

Al-Shabab has often said it wants to punish Kenya for sending troops to Somalia to join African Union peacekeepers who are fighting the group.

At least 67 people were killed in a shopping mall in the capital, Nairobi, in September 2013 in one of the group's largest-scale attacks to date.

tj/sms (AFP, Reuters)

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