Wed | Jan 16, 2019

Kenyan Christians Mourn their Dead

Published:Monday | April 6, 2015 | 12:00 AM
A nun prays during the service at the Our Lady of Consolation Church, which was attacked with grenades by militants almost three years ago, in Garissa, Kenya yesterday. Easter Sunday's ceremony was laden with emotion for the several hundred members of Garissa's Christian minority, which is fearful following the recent attack on Garissa University College by al-Shabab, a Somalia-based Islamic extremist group, who singled out Christians for killing.

Many Kenyans spent Easter Sunday mourning the 148 people killed in an attack by al-Shabab gunmen on a university campus last week, amid reports that the son of a senior government official was among the assailants.

The gunman in question - one of four killed during the siege at Garissa College - was Abdirahim Mohammed Abdullahi, the son of the local chief in Mandera County, The Associated Press reported.

"The father had reported to security agents that his son had disappeared from home ... and was helping the police try to trace his son by the time the Garissa terror attack happened," ministry spokesman Mwenda Njoka told the BBC.

Abdullahi was, reportedly, a 2013 law graduate of the University of Nairobi.

The attack by Somali-based al-Shabab was the deadliest in the east African country since the 1998 bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi.


security absent


Extra police had been sent to guard the campus that morning because of terrorism warnings. Now, senior army officers have revealed to local reporters that Kenya's elite special forces, trained by the United States for this kind of closed quarter combat, were not dispatched to the scene until seven hours into the massacre, after most students were likely already dead.

"Grieving Christians prayed, sang and clapped hands at an Easter Sunday service at a Catholic church in Garissa.

"Security forces patrolled the perimeter of Our Lady of Consolation Church, which was attacked by militants almost three years ago. Grenades lobbed at the building sprayed shrapnel into the interior, injuring some worshippers. Another Garissa church was also attacked that day and 17 people were killed."