Militant Islamic terror group al-Shabab have continued their attacks on Christians in Africa with gunmen from the jihadi group storming a university in north-east Kenya.
Reports from the BBC in the country say that the fundamentalist Islamic group have killed at least 15 people and 65 have been wounded when the gunman stormed the campus in Garissa.
About five masked gunmen are said to have stormed the university with the country’s Interior Minister Joseph Nkaissery telling journalists that one of the terrorists had been killed as he tried to flee.
Out of 825 students, 535 are unaccounted for, according to a Kenyan minister, although the number of hostages is unclear: “We can’t tell how many but they are many since the college was in session,” an unnamed policeman said.
The group, which is linked to al-Qaeda, says it is releasing Muslim students and holding any Christians hostages: 15 had already been released, a spokesman for al-Shabab told the broadcaster.
The government has named Mohamed Kuno as the mastermind of the attack, placing a bounty of $53,000 dollars on him, later raised to $217,000 (£140,000).
Kuno was headmaster at an Islamic school in Garissa before he quit in 2007 and now goes by the nickname “Dulyadeyn”, which means “long-armed one” in Somali.
One student, Collins Wetangula, said when gunmen entered is hostel he could hear them opening doors and asking if people inside were Muslim or Christian.
“If you were a Christian you were shot on the spot. With each blast of the gun I thought I was going to die,” he said.
The student said security forces entered through a window and took him and some other students to safety.
Another said gunmen reportedly ordered students to lie down on the floor, but some of them escaped and are at a military facility.
“It was horrible, there was shooting everywhere,” said student Augustine Alanga.
He said it was “pathetic” that the university was only guarded by two police officers in such a volatile area.
Because of its proximity to Somalia, Garissa is an easy hit for al-Shabab and there have been several attacks in the park. The UK and Australia have both issued warnings of terror attacks in parts of Kenya this week, including in Garissa. There have also been specific warnings for universities in the country.
The Kenyan Red Cross said about 50 students had been “safely freed” but there are reports of continued fighting with some of the extremists firing from a university building roof.
The militants have been isolated in a single building at the university, Kenyan officials have said. with security forces trying to flush out the gunmen.
Taking to twitter, police urged residents to stay away from the area although friends and relatives of those who may be trapped inside have gathered, trying to enter the campus. Troops have also surrounded the main hospital, restricting access to it to allow medical staff to cope with the wounded.
Most shops in Garissa are shut and people are staying at home.
In a statement issued by the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, he offered his condolences to the families of the victims, saying: “We continue to pray for the quick recovery of the injured, and the safe rescue of those held hostage.”
Al-Shabab has carried out a number of attacks in Kenya since 2011, triggered by the country sending troops to help Somalia fight the Islamic group there. The deadliest was the attack on the Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi in September 2013 when 67 people were killed.