Updates To Garissa University Attack In Kenya As Casualty Numbers Remain Uncertain
Early Thursday morning, gunmen attacked Kenya's Garissa University College and "shot indiscriminately" at students, authorities said. The attack led to an hours-long standoff between security forces and the gunmen, with an unknown number of students taken hostage. At least two people were confirmed dead and dozens sent to local hospitals, most with gunshot wounds, according to Kenya Red Cross. Update: Officials have confirmed that 147 people have been killed and dozens more wounded.
According to BBC, Somali militant group Al Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attack. The outlet reports that Al Shabab spokesman Ali Mohamud Rage said the militants had "killed dozens." In a statement obtained by the BBC, Rage said:
We confirm that all attackers are safe and fighting inside.
BBC also reports that at least 14 people are confirmed dead, including two security guards manning the university gate when the gunmen entered the campus. Kenya Red Cross, whose Twitter account has continued to update casualty numbers throughout the shootout, tweeted at noon local time that at least 65 people were injured and taken to a nearby hospital, Kenya Red Cross tweeted.
Authorities said gunmen stormed the university campus at around 5:30 a.m. local time and opened fire on students. CNN reports that around 800 students are normally in the dormitories when school is session as well as 1,000 staffers on a workday. Officials said at 11:00 a.m. local time (4 a.m. ET) that three student dorms had been evacuated. The gunmen had been cornered in one hostel. How many students remain hostages is unclear. What is also unknown is the number of gunmen, though witness reports have ranged from five to 10 attackers.
Kenya Red Cross has been coordinating with ministry officials to airlift serious casualties to Nairobi for treatment. Blood donations are being accepted at Garissa P.G. Hospital, according to Kenya Red Cross. A tracing desk has also been set up at the facility with the number 0715-820-219.