Pope mourns with Kenyans

Militants attack university campus

(Vatican Radio) – Kenya was in mourning Friday after Islamists militants stormed a University campus killing 147 people the day before. Many of the victims were Christian students who were executed at the start of the assault after they were separated from their Muslim colleagues.

The bodies of many of the victims from Garissa University which is in the country’s north east were being transferred to mortuaries in Garissa and the capital Nairobi for identification.

The country’s Interior Minister said four gunmen from the group Al Shabaab were behind the attack, the same number that killed 67 people during the 2013 bloodbath at a shopping mall in Nairobi.

Linda Bordoni spoke to Father Nicholas Mutua, coordinator of the Justice and Peace Commission and Parish priest in the town of Garissa who says local police had received threats of a possible attack.

He said, “it happened that recently there were some suspected Al Shabaabs who were gunned down by the Kenyan defense forces just near the town here, and I believe they gave warning, they say they will act…”

Fr Mutua said that for this weekend’s Easter celebrations there will be a security presence at his Church, but he adds that this is nothing new. “we cannot go without having security personnel around.”

Asked if he himself and his parishioners feel a sense of fear, he responded, “Yes, I feel tense because, you know, when I am walking I know I can die anytime.”

On Friday, April 3, the day after the attack, Pope Francis has sent a message to the Catholic Bishops Conference of Kenya expressing his spiritual closeness to the families of victims of Thursday’s early morning attack. 

[Featured image: www.rescue.org.]

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