At least 14 people were reported killed on Thursday when Islamist militant group al Shabaab stormed a university campus near Kenya’s border with Somalia, taking Christian students hostage and battling security forces over several hours.
Police and soldiers surrounded and sealed off Garissa University College and were attempting to flush out the gunmen, the head of Kenya’s police force, Joseph Boinet, said.
Al Shabaab, which has links to al Qaeda and a track record of raids on Kenyan soil, claimed responsibility for the pre-dawn attack, in which scores were wounded.
Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, the group’s military operations spokesman, said it was holding many Christian hostages inside.
“We sorted people out and released the Muslims,” he told Reuters. “Fighting still goes on inside the college.”
“The attackers shot indiscriminately while inside the university compound,” Boinet said in a statement, adding police had been guarding the university’s four hostels at the time.
At least 14 people had been killed, a policeman at the scene said, while the Red Cross said 50 students had been freed.
Others managed to escape the compound unaided.Reuters.