Sunday 22 April 2018

Kenyan students march over killings

Kenyan students hold candles as they march in memory of the victims of the Garissa college attack (AP)
Kenyan students hold candles as they march in memory of the victims of the Garissa college attack (AP)

Hundreds of Kenyan students have marched through central Nairobi to honour those who died in an attack on a college by Islamic militants and to press the government for better security in the wake of the slaughter.

The raucous crowd of about 250 jogged down main thoroughfares in Kenya's capital, sometimes sitting in traffic circles and intersections, backing up traffic and attracting bystanders.

The singing, chanting demonstrators, some of whom were dressed in black to mourn those killed, denounced Somalia's al-Shabab extremist group that carried out the attack last week on Garissa University College which killed 148 in north-eastern Kenya.

"Comrades are tired of al-Shabab," said one placard. Other signs said: "You remain in our hearts!" and "RIP comrades."

The protesters stopped at President Uhuru Kenyatta's office building to present their demands, which include state compensation for the families of the victims who died in the Garissa attack, the construction of a memorial for the dead and better security on campuses and in Kenya as a whole.

"We might be next," said Walter Mutai, a 22-year-old statistics student at Moi University. "These people, they can target anywhere."

"We are not safe," the demonstrators shouted.

On one road, the students passed a truck carrying security forces with red berets and rifles.

"Where were you?" the students shouted angrily. The troops did not respond.

They also banged on the sides of a police vehicle and converged briefly outside Kenyan police headquarters, again shouting: "Where were you?"

"We want guns," they cried.

Mr Kenyatta's government has faced criticism for an allegedly late response by its security forces to the college assault.

Kenyan police have presented in court five suspects arrested in connection with the Garissa attack.

The court granted police 30 more days to investigate the suspects before charging them in court.

The five suspects are: Mohammed Adan Surow, Osman Abdi Dakane, Mohammed Abdi Abikar, Hassan Aden Hassan and Sahal Diriye Hussien. Police say they supplied guns to the four gunmen who carried out the killings.

Police said they also want more time to investigate a sixth suspect, Tanzanian national Rashid Charles Mberekesho, who is being held in Garissa.

Press Association

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