Five Kenyans, one Tanzanian held over university massacre: court

A Nairobi court on Tuesday ordered five Kenyans and a Tanzanian to be detained for 30 days while police investigate possible connections to last week’s university massacre.

The court agreed to state lawyers’ request for the extended detention period, which usually would last 24 hours before the detainee has to be presented in court. The Tanzanian suspect is still being held in the northeastern town of Garissa, where the massacre of 148 people took place.

The day-long siege was claimed by Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents, and was Kenya’s deadliest attack since the 1998 bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi.

Lawyers for the police said the five Kenyans were being investigated for supplying weapons to the attackers who carried out the killings on Thursday, without giving further details.

One of men was arrested on the university campus where he was a security guard. The others were arrested while trying to cross the border to Somalia.

The Tanzanian man was found “hiding in the ceiling” of the university campus holding grenades, interior ministry spokesman Mwenda Njoka has said.

Police are studying phone records of the men believing it shows they were in contact with the four gunmen who carried out the attack and were killed by Kenyan troops.

Authorities on Sunday named one of the four gunmen killed as a fellow Kenyan citizen, highlighting the Shebab’s ability to recruit within the country.

Abdirahim Abdullahi, an ethnic Somali, was a university law graduate described by those who knew him as an A-grade student and “a brilliant upcoming lawyer”, Njoka said.

Although losing ground in Somalia, the Shebab have stepped up attacks inside Kenya as well as its recruitment of Muslim youth in the country’s northeastern and coastal regions.

A $215,000 (200,000 euro) bounty has been offered for alleged Shebab commander Mohamed Mohamud, a former Kenyan teacher believed to now be in Somalia and said to be the mastermind behind the Garissa attack.

Photo Credits : AFP

Stench of death permeates Kenya massacre university’s halls

Scattered books and dark blood stains on the floor: the bodies have been collected but an abbatoir-like stench permeates the Kenyan university where Islamist gunmen massacred 148 people last week.

In the now quiet grounds, police and soldiers stand under the shade of trees, where students once sat studying or chatting with friends.

Papers and pens lie in the dust, apparently dropped by students as they fled when gunmen from Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab launched their killing spree, hurling grenades and firing automatic rifles.

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

On Monday, four days since the day-long violence spree, journalists were briefly allowed for the first time into the campus.

The bullet-scarred buildings remained closed, but peering through the doors and windows, a sense of the carnage and the fury of the violence was clear.

At the three-storey Elgon A hostel, where the worst killings took place, shards of glass from the doors smashed by bullets cover the entrance.

Inside, where the gunmen gathered students together before carrying out their day of slaughter, dark stains of blood cover the floors, showing the magnitude of the massacre.

– Scraps of flesh –

Reuben Nyaora, a clinical officer working for the aid agency International Rescue Committee (IRC), and one of the first frontline medics into the halls, described seeing “bodies everywhere in execution lines… people whose heads had been blown off, bullet wounds everywhere, it was a grisly mess.”

Now the rooms are empty, but in places the blood is smeared in long lines, suggesting where a wounded student crawled away in agony in a desperate effort to escape.

Belongings of the students still lie around: a single shoe, a pair of sandals, torn and bloody clothes, some books.

Survivors described scenes of total carnage: piles of bodies and pools of blood running down the corridors as laughing gunmen taunted their victims.

Nyaora described how he witnessed three women apparently dead, covered head to toe entirely in blood but in fact physically unharmed, pick themselves up from a pile of corpses.

They told him how gunmen ordered them to “swim in the blood”, as though they were making fun of them, playing games and apparently enjoying the killing.

Local government commissioner Njega Miir, who stopped journalists taking photographs from inside the halls as a mark of respect to the dead, said buildings would remain locked, and the property of the students left sent on to survivors.

“We have secured all doors to all buildings in the college to ensure that, items left behind by the students remain safe, and delivered to their respective owners,” he said.

The university has been ordered to close permanently.

Around the compound, evidence remains of the desperation the students felt, as those that could fled the killing.

Snagged on the barbed wire fence around the campus are scraps of flesh, hair and small rags of cloth – ripped off the students as they escaped.

Photo Credits : AFP