US condemns attack on Kenya's Garissa University College

Garissa University College students board a vehicle after they were rescued by security officers following an attack on the institution by gunmen on April 2, 2015. PHOTO | ABDIMALIK HAJIR | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • We are saddened & angered by today’s terrorist attack. Our deepest condolences 2 family/friends of victims.
  • At least eight people were killed and 30 others injured in the attack on Thursday morning.

The United States has condemned the attack on Garissa University College after gunmen laid siege on the public institution.

The US Embassy in Nairobi said the attack was a show of “cowardice.”

“We are saddened & angered by today’s terrorist attack @ #Garissa Univ. Our deepest condolences 2 family/friends of victims. #CowardsNeverWin,” the embassy posted on its Twitter account.

The statement followed an announcement by the police that more reinforcements had been sent to the scene of an attack.

The chinese embassy also condemned the attacks on Thursday night. "We are deeply shocked and saddened by the terrorist attack at Garissa University College that has caused huge casualties of innocent civilians, and express our deep condolences to the victims and sincere sympathy to their bereaved families and the injured," the embassy said in a statement.

Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet said “elite” units from the police and the Kenya Defence Forces have responded to the attack that begun early morning but only said more updates will be given later.

“Armed attackers forced their way into Garissa University by shooting at guards manning the main gate at 5.30am. The attackers shot indiscriminately while inside the university compound,” he said in a statement posted on his Twitter handle.

“Police officers who were at the time guarding the students’ hostels heard the gunshots and responded swiftly and engaged in a fierce gunfight,” he added saying the besieged officers asked for reinforcements immediately.


The attackers, whose number remains unknown, are said to have been hooded when they forced their way into the varsity compound.

Suspected to be conducted by the Al-Shabaab, it mimics the Westgate attack on September 21 in 2013 in which four gunmen laid siege on an upmarket mall, killing 67 people.

The attack could be a blow to the Kenyan tourism sector especially after President Uhuru Kenyatta repeatedly said Kenya was safe despite a new travel warning by the UK government.

“We want to send a clear message; that they will not intimidate us with these [travel advisory] threats,” he said.

President Kenyatta was apparently incensed after the UK government, for the third time, advised its nationals from visiting the Coast unless they were on ‘essential travel.’

When he toured Kenya a two weeks ago, UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond accused Kenya of sitting on intelligence information, making it difficult to review the warnings.

On Wednesday, President Kenyatta was disputing claims that intelligence hasn’t been shared with the UK.

“That is not true and the challenge is on them now. There is nothing that they can claim not to be aware of,” he said.

The updated warning published last Friday said, a week after Mr Hammond had left Kenya in a trip he reportedly failed to convince Kenya for a new bilateral military training agreement.

“The UK has updated its travel advice for Kenya, adding advice against all but essential travel to the coast from Tiwi (just south of Mombasa) all the way up to the border with Somalia,” it said.

“Our travel advice for other parts of the country has not changed, and the vast majority of the country remains outside our advisory against all but essential travel.”

The institution is the first ever public university in the entire north eastern region, long considered a marginalized area.