Kenyans march for na­tional se­cu­rity fol­low­ing hor­rific Gar­risa massacre

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY AUDE GENET

Kenyans marched de­mand­ing greater na­tional se­cu­rity Tues­day fol­low­ing last week’s massacre by So­ma­lia’s She­bab Is­lamists, ahead of a can­dlelit vigil on the fi­nal day of mourn­ing for the 148 peo­ple killed by the mil­i­tants.

Hun­dreds of demon­stra­tors wav­ing plac­ards and chant­ing slo­gans marched on the streets of the cap­i­tal Nairobi and the north­east­ern town of Garissa, where the massacre was car­ried out.

Se­cu­rity forces mean­while con­tin­ued their hunt for those be­hind the uni­ver­sity killings.

In Garissa, sev­eral hun­dred peo­ple gath­ered at a rally where both Mus­lim and Chris­tian lead­ers called for unity, with lo­cal Mus­lim leader Ab­dul­lahi Salat con­demn­ing the “vi­o­lent and evil attack”.

In Nairobi, some 200 stu­dents slapped ve­hi­cles with their hands as they marched through the streets, chant­ing “you are not safe, you are not safe!”

Mau­reen Mucheri, 21, an en­gi­neer­ing stu­dent at Nairobi Uni­ver­sity, said she feared an­other attack, re­fus­ing to go into shop­ping malls and churches, be­cause “the gov­ern­ment is do­ing noth­ing”.

Some stu­dents car­ried flow­ers, oth­ers stopped to light can­dles.

“We are mourn­ing the loss of our fel­low com­rades, we have lost the vi­brant blood that would have built to­mor­row’s Kenya,” Mucheri added.

A vigil is planned for early evening on the third and fi­nal day of na­tional mourn­ing.

Kenyan fighter jets pounded camps be­long­ing to the al-Qaidalinked in­sur­gents in south­ern So­ma­lia on Mon­day, but anger has been grow­ing over al­le­ga­tions that crit­i­cal in­tel­li­gence warn­ings were missed.

Spe­cial forces units took seven hours to reach the uni­ver­sity in Garissa last Thurs­day, some 365 kilo­me­ters (225 miles) from the cap­i­tal, as She­bab gun­men stormed dor­mi­tory build­ings.

Fear of New Attack

The ex­trem­ists lined up nonMus­lim stu­dents for ex­e­cu­tion in what Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta de­scribed as a “bar­baric me­dieval slaugh­ter”.

Stu­dents in the demon­stra­tion car­ried plac­ards with the slo­gan “147 is not just a num­ber”, re­fer­ring to the death toll in the massacre - although that has since risen to 148.

The massacre, Kenya’s dead­li­est attack since the 1998 bomb­ing of the U.S. em­bassy in Nairobi, claimed the lives of 142 stu­dents, three po­lice of­fi­cers and three sol­diers.

“We shall not for­get,” the Stan­dard news­pa­per front-page read, as news me­dia printed the faces of those killed in the attack, even as scores of rel­a­tives con­tinue an ag­o­niz­ing wait for the re­mains of their loved ones at the main mor­tu­ary in Nairobi.

Vigil or­ga­nizer Boni­face Mwangi, who has urged Kenyans to come with flow­ers and to dress in black for the vigil in Nairobi’s Uhuru Park — or “Free­dom” in Swahili — has been deeply crit­i­cal of the coun­try’s se­cu­rity fail­ings.

“En­trenched cor­rup­tion in the se­cu­rity sys­tem al­lows Al-She­bab to move freely in and out of Kenya and carry out such at­tacks with ease,” said Mwangi, a civil so­ci­ety ac­tivist.

The army said Mon­day’s air strikes de­stroyed two Is­lamist bases, and fol­lowed a prom­ise by Keny­atta that he would re­tal­i­ate “in the sever­est way pos­si­ble” against the She­bab mil­i­tants for their attack last Thurs­day.

(Right) Kenyan stu­dents wear­ing black shirts to rep­re­sent mourn­ing hold can­dles as they march in mem­ory of the vic­tims of the Garissa col­lege attack and to protest what they say is a lack of se­cu­rity, in down­town Nairobi, Kenya on Tues­day, April 7.

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