Unlucky son of Kenya Government official was among gunmen in Garrissa University attack

April 5, 2015 4:09 pm

Investigations by Kenyan police into the massacre of 147 students of
Garrissa University on Thursday April 2nd has revealed that one of the
masked men who carried out the attack was a son of a govt
official. The gunman identified as Abdirahim
Abdullahi is a law graduate from the University of Nairobi and the son
of Abdullahi Daqara, the Chief of Bulla Jamhuri in Mandera county

’s
Interior Ministry spokesman Mwenda Njoka in a text message to Reuters,
said Abdirahim
Abdullahi had disappeared from home the morning of the attack and his
family was looking for him when the attack at the University campus
occurred

“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,” Njoka told Reuters  

An unidentified government official based in Garissa said Abdullahi, after his graduation in 2013 joined the
militant group al Shabaab.

“He was a very brilliant student. But then he got these crazy ideas,” the official said.

Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers arrive at a hospital to escort the bodies of the attackers to be put on public view, in Garissa. Photo / AP
Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers arrive
at a hospital to escort the bodies of the attackers to be put on public
view, in Garissa. Photo / AP Abdirahim Mohammed Abdullahi, one of the Islamic extremists who
attacked Garissa University College, was the son of a government chief
in Mandera County, Interior Ministry spokesman Mwenda Njoka told The Associated Press.
The
chief had reported his son missing last year and said he feared that he
had gone to Somalia, said Njoka. All four attackers were killed by
Kenyan security forces on Thursday, said police.
Abdullahi
graduated from the University of Nairobi with a law degree in 2013 and
was viewed as a “brilliant upcoming lawyer,” according to Njoka. It is
not clear where he worked before he disappeared last year, Njoka said.
To
prevent an escalation of Islamic radicalization in Kenya, it is
important for parents to inform authorities if their children go missing
or show tendencies of following violent extremism, said Njoka.

The four gunmen entered the Garissa campus on Thursday and slaughtered students.

Red Cross staff console a woman after she viewed the body of a relative killed in Thursday's attack at Garissa university in northeastern Kenya. Photo / AP
Red Cross staff console a woman after she
viewed the body of a relative killed in Thursday’s attack at Garissa
university in northeastern Kenya. Photo / AP
The gunmen were all killed more than 12 hours after the
start of the attack. Somalia’s Islamic militants claimed
responsibility for the attack saying it is retribution for Kenya
deploying troops to Somalia to fight the extremist rebels.
The
that one of the attackers was Kenyan highlights the challenges
faced by the government in preventing extremist attacks. The danger
comes not only from neighboring Somalia from where the Islamic militants
of al-Shabab launch attacks, but also from within Kenya.
Kenyans
make up the largest number if foreign fighters in al-Shabab, according
to experts. Hundreds of Kenyan youths have trained with al-Shabab and
then have returned to Kenya, posing a major security threat, according
to former police chief Mathew Iteere.
Kenya’s government has said another source of instability is the refugee camps with more than 423,000 Somali refugees.
Police
waited for seven hours before sending a special tactical unit into
Garissa college to fight the extremist gunmen, Kenya’s Daily Nation
newspaper reported. When the specially-trained police unit finally went
into the college campus it took them only 30 minutes to kill the four
al-Shabab gunmen and stop the siege, said the paper.
The
newspaper’s front page article questioned why the Interior Minister and
police chief were flown to Garissa from Nairobi before the tactical
team.
Before the attack on Garissa college, northeastern Kenya
has had other attacks by al-Shabab in which Christians were separated
from Muslims and then killed. Some Christians are questioning whether
they should stay in northeastern Kenya near the border with Somalia.
In
the wake of the attack, grieving Christians prayed, sang and clapped at
an Easter Sunday service at a Catholic church in Garissa.

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. Photo / AP
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. Photo / AP
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.
Sunday’s ceremony was laden
with emotion for the several hundred members of Garissa’s Christian
minority, which is fearful following the attack by al-Shabab, a
Somalia-based Islamic extremist group. The gunmen who attacked Garissa
University College on Thursday singled out Christians for killing,
though al-Shabab has a long record of killing Muslims.
“We just
keep on praying that God can help us, to comfort us in this difficult
time,” said Dominick Odhiambo, a worshipper who said he planned to
abandon his job as a plumber in Garissa and leave for his hometown
because he was afraid.
“Thank you for coming, so many of you,”
Bishop Joseph Alessandro said to the congregation. He said some of those
who died in Thursday’s attack would have been at the service, and he
read condolence messages from around the world.
Alessandro saw a parallel between the ordeal of Jesus Christ, which Easter commemorates, and that of Garissa.
“We join the sufferings of the relatives and the victims with the sufferings of Jesus,” he said.
“The victims will rise again with Christ.”
Alessandro said there has been an increase in insecurity because of al-Shabab.
“You
don’t know who they are. They could be your neighbors,” he said. A
heavy security presence only helps up to a point and more intelligence
on the militants is needed, he said.
Al-Shabab warned that Kenyans will face more violent attacks.
 “No amount of precaution or safety measures will be able to guarantee
your safety, thwart another attack or prevent another bloodbath,” said
al-Shabab.
Following the extremists’ threats, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta vowed to take harsh measures against the Islamic militants.
In
a nationally televised address, Kenyatta said his administration “shall
respond in the severest ways possible” to the Garissa attack.
“We will fight to the end,” said Kenyatta, who declared three days of national mourning.
Five people have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the Garissa attack, a Kenyan official said.

Meanwhile
Kenya has commenced three days of National mourning over the attack.
Military men were positioned outside the premises of most churches today
to provide security to worshipers who came to church to partake in the
Easter Celebration.

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