Scores of Kenyan students marched through downtown Nairobi Tuesday to honor the 148 victims killed by al-Shabab gunmen at Garissa University College in northeast Kenya last week, News24 Nigeria reported. The crowd, which drew hundreds of people, also demanded tighter security in the east African country that has struggled to stem the flow of militants and weapons across its border with Somalia.
The student protesters urged Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to do more in the wake of the deadly attack including better security on school campuses, state compensation for the victims’ families and constructing a memorial for the dead. The singing and chanting crowd condemned the gunmen from the al Qaeda-linked group, which has claimed responsibility for the April 2 siege.
The Kenyan air force said Monday it destroyed two al-Shabab camps in Somalia’s Gedo region in an effort to stop the Islamist extremists from conducting cross-border attacks into Kenya. However, al-Shabab’s military operations spokesman told Reuters none of the camps were hit and the air force bombs had instead struck farmland.
Political pressure has mounted on Kenyatta after last week’s killings marked more than 400 people killed by al-Shabab on Kenyan soil in the past two years. Al-Shabab gunmen stormed Nairobi’s Westgate mall in 2013 and killed 67 people.
Al-Shabab was defeated in 2007 by Somali and Ethiopian forces and has since splintered into several smaller factions. Still, the Somali-based group remains a terrorist threat in Somalia and Kenya. Al-Shabab, which pledged allegiance to the al Qaeda terrorist organization in 2012, seeks to overthrow the United Nations-backed Somali government and create an ‘Islamic Emirate of Somalia,’ according to the National Counterterrorism Center.