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Al Shabaab threatens more attacks against Kenya

CARL DE SOUZA, AFP I Residents of Garissa look at newspapers detailing an attack a day earlier by Al Shabaab fighters who say they will continue to target Kenyans.

Al Shabaab threatened Saturday to stage more bloody attacks on Kenya after the jihadist group’s fighters killed nearly 150 people at a university on Thursday, while Kenyan authorities announced they had arrested five suspects.

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Four masked al Shabaab gunmen went on a killing spree Thursday in a pre-dawn raid, hunting down and executing students in a college campus in Garissa, a northeastern town about 200km (120 miles) from the Somali border.

The al-Qaeda aligned group said the attack was retribution for Kenya’s presence in Somalia as part of the African Union force supporting the internationally-backed government in Mogadishu. They also cited mistreatment of Muslims within Kenya.

“No amount of precaution or safety measures will be able to guarantee your safety, thwart another attack or prevent another bloodbath from occurring in your cities,” the group said in an emailed statement similar to those made after the Westgate attack in 2013.

In the message, directed at the Kenyan public, the group vowed a long and gruesome war, saying Kenya’s cities will “run red with blood”. They also warned the public they would be targeted in "schools, universities, workplaces and even in your homes" as they had elected the government.

"Choices have consequences; you chose your government out of your own volition so endure the consequences of your actions, for you will bear the full brunt of its follies," the statement read.

The death toll in the attack on the Garissa University College has risen to 148, Interior Minister Joseph Nkaissery said late on Friday, adding that police were interviewing five suspects after making three additional arrests on Friday.

The raid on Thursday was the biggest attack on Kenya since 1998, when al Qaeda bombed the US embassy in the capital Nairobi and killed more than 200 people.

Obama condemns attack, maintains trip

US President Barack Obama called Kenya's leader and vowed to stand "hand-in-hand" with its government and people on Friday.

"Words cannot adequately condemn the terrorist atrocities that took place at Garissa University College, where innocent men and women were brazenly and brutally massacred," Obama said.

Obama will make a long-awaited return to Kenya this July, visiting his father's homeland for the first time since becoming US president.

"The future of Kenya will not be defined by violence and terror; it will be shaped by young people like those at Garissa University College," Obama said.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AFP)
 

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