Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has vowed to respond “in the severest ways possible” to the al-Shabab militant attack on Garissa university in which 148 people died, reports BBC. In an address to the nation, Mr Kenyatta said the Islamist group posed an “existential threat” to Kenya. He also said the government would take steps to crack down on those who planned and financed terrorist attacks.
Mr Kenyatta also declared three days of mourning for the victims. Almost all the dead were students. Another people 79 were injured. Four militant gunmen were killed, and officials say they are holding five people for questioning – one of whom is believed to be a university security guard. Buses are transporting more than 600 students and about 50 staff who survived the attacks to their home areas, Garissa governor Nathif Jama Adam told Reuters news agency.
Mr Kenyatta vowed to “fight terrorism to the end” and said the militants would not succeed in their aim of creating an Islamic caliphate in Kenya. “I want you to know that our security forces are pursuing the remaining accomplices. We will bring all of them to justice,” he said. “Our forefathers bled and died for this nation, and we will do everything to defend our way of life.” He called on political and religious leaders to “speak in a united voice” and give “weightiest consideration” to national security.
The task of combating terrorism had been complicated by the fact that “the planners and financiers of this brutality are deeply embedded in our communities”, Mr Kenyatta added. “We will not allow them to continue their lives as normal,” he said. The president’s address came as the relatives of victims queued at a morgue in the capital Nairobi to identify their loved ones.