• Attack started around 5:30am on Thursday
  • Authorities gain control of the situation a short while ago
  • 70 people reported dead
  • 65 people seriously injured
  • Hundreds unaccounted for
  • Confirmed Al-Shabaab attack
  • Militants say attack was in retaliation for Kenya deploying troops to neighbouring Somalia

At least 70 people have died in an attack at the Garissa University College in Kenya. Sixty-five people are seriously injured and hundreds are unaccounted for after Al-Shabaab militants attacked the university in the eastern part of the country around 5:30am on Thursday.

Al-Shabaab have claimed responsibility for the deadly attack, and said it was carried out because of the deployment of Kenyan troops in Somalia. The Kenyan ministry posted a “most wanted” notice for the man believed to be the mastermind of the attack, Mohamed Mohamud or Gamadhere.

The siege ended just a short while ago as Kenyan authorities announced they had brought the situation under the control of security forces.

According to the police services in Kenya, the gunmen forced their way into student dormitories opening fire and taking hostages. Kenyan Red Cross stated that 50 students were freed, and at least 65 people were hospitalized from the attack. There are also unconfirmed reports that the attackers had beheaded some of the victims.

Prior warning

In March Garissa University College’s chief security officer informed the institution that Al-Shabaab was planning an attack on the university. Both the United Kingdom and the United States issued warnings of attacks in Kenya just last week. The country’s government said it bolstered security following the warning, but residents say it was too little, too late.

President Kenyatta responds

“I am saddened to inform the nation that early today, terrorists attacked Garissa University College killed and wounded several people and have taken others hostage. On behalf of my government, I extend condolences to the families of those who have perished in this attack. We continue to pray for the quick recovery of the injured, and the safe rescue of those held hostage,” said Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in a statement.

Condolences from UCT and the African Union Somali mission

The University of Cape Town (UCT) also released a statement condemning the attack, saying universities are places of learning, sharing and tolerance. The university extended it condolences to over 200 Kenyan students studying at the university concerned about the attacks back home.

“If you attack a military, it’s an equal battle, but if you go after students, who are learning, who are preparing for the future of Africa, it’s different … I’m a father myself – I am shaken,” said the head of the African Union mission in Somalia, Maman Sambo Sidikou.