Kenya government officials said on Saturday that five suspects have been arrested for the assault on Garissa University College, which left nearly 150 students and workers dead and dozens more injured. The gunmen who orchestrated the bloody 14-hour-long siege are believed to be members of the militant group al Shabab. However, it's unclear at this time if those taken into custody are linked to the terrorist group.
Kenya's Interior Ministry said on Saturday that three of the suspects were seized while trying to cross the Kenya-Somalia border, Reuters reports. Government officials believe those suspects were involved in coordinating Thursday's attack.
Interior Ministry spokesman Mwenda Njoka told Reuters that a fourth suspect, a Tanzania man, was found hiding in the ceiling at the university. He was arrested because he had ammunition on him when he was found. "We suspect the Tanzanian, who was hiding in the ceiling, was one of the combatants," Njoka said.
Authorities also reportedly arrested a security guard who works for the university. Officials believe the guard may have helped the militants storm the school. "We suspect the guard facilitated the entry," Njoka told Reuters. However, the prime suspect in the attack, al Shabab operative Mohamed Kuno, is still at-large.
Militant group al Shabab, which is based in Somalia, previously claimed responsibility for the attack hundreds of miles away from the Somalia-Kenya border. In a message released to the public, al Shabab said Thursday's assault was in retaliation for Kenya's military presence in Somalia, Reuters reports.
The militant group also threatened more attacks. "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 on Saturday.
On Friday, President Barack Obama, who is set to visit Kenya in July, expressed his condolences to the victims' families:
Michelle and I join the American people in expressing our horror and sadness at the reports coming out of Garissa, Kenya. Words cannot adequately condemn the terrorist atrocities that took place at Garissa University College, where innocent men and women were brazenly and brutally massacred. We join the world in mourning them, many of whom were students pursuing an education in the pursuit of a better life for themselves and their loved ones. They represented a brighter future for a region that has seen too much violence for far too long. We also commend the heroism of the responders who lost their lives in the selfless protection of the students and faculty.
"We will stand hand-in-hand with the Kenyan Government and people against the scourge of terrorism and in their efforts to bring communities together," the president added.
In the aftermath of the Garissa University attack, stories of hope and survival continue to surface. The Red Cross said on Saturday that a 19-year-old student was found still hiding two days after the assault. She was unharmed, and has been taken to a local hospital, the Red Cross said.
NBC News reports that the student, whose name is Cynthia Charotich, hid in a crawl space above a classroom closet when the attack broke out. She remained there until she was discovered by the Red Cross, who have been among the first responders at the grizzly scene at the Kenyan university.
According to previous news reports, alleged al Shabab leader Mohamed Kuno has been named as the prime suspect in Thursday's attack on Garissa University. Kenyan authorities have put out a $215,000 award for Kuno, who may be traveling under the alias of Mohamed Dulyadin, BBC News reports. Kuno is allegedly responsible for numerous other attacks throughout Kenya.
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