What You Need To Know About The Kenyan University Attack

Photo: AP Photo.
A Kenyan university is in chaos after an attack by a terrorist group left at least 147 dead, 79 injured, and nearly 600 traumatized survivors. This is a developing story, and we'll continue to update here.

Garissa Univeristy in northern Kenya was rocked by heavy gunfire on Thursday, as armed men from al-Shabaab, a Somalian terrorist group, stormed dorm buildings and pulled students from their rooms. The Associated Press reported that some survivors said they heard men asking people whether they were Muslim or Christian.

According to one witness who spoke to the AP, "If you were a Christian, you were shot on the spot."

An al-Shabaab spokesman said that the group had taken Christian hostages, according to Reuters. The Kenyan military joined police officers in an attempt to end a standoff with the militants.

Al-Shabaab has been a constant presence in East Africa for many years, and this is only the latest in a series of attacks in Somalia and nearby nations. The militant Islamist group, whose name means "The Youth" in Arabic, formed in the mid-2000s and has spent the past decade fighting to destabilize Somalia's government, which has struggled to establish credibility.

Two years ago, al-Shabaab fighters stormed the Westgate mall in Nairobi, an upscale shopping center popular with wealthy residents and expats, killing more than 60 people. Just last week, members of the group attacked a hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia, leaving 24 dead and at least 28 injured.

President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit Kenya in July.

Update: At 9:30 pm local time, officials reported that the standoff had come to an end, and that all four gunmen had been killed. All students have been accounted for, with 587 evacuated, 79 hurt, and 147 dead, according to NBC News.
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