President Uhuru Kenyatta has declared three days of national mourning in honour of the 147 people who were killed in Garissa University College by Al Shabaab terrorists.
During the three days, the national flag will fly at half mast, the President announced yesterday in an address to the nation after meeting the national security team at State House, Nairobi.
“As we mourn together and pray together for the fallen and for this our precious Republic of Kenya, I declare three days of national mourning during which our flag shall fly at half-mast,” he said. He also promised government assistance to the families of the victims.
During the more than 15-hour siege, the terrorists killed 147 people, majority of them students. Four of the terrorists were killed and five were arrested and are currently helping with investigations, he announced.
“On Thursday, the Garissa University College was turned from a place of learning and hope into an arena of pain, despair and death… It was the most lethal terrorist attack on Kenya since the 1998 US embassy bombing. During the day-long ordeal, the terrorists took more than 800 students hostage; thankfully, more than 600 were rescued,” he said.
In his address, the President also said the government will spare no efforts to go after the terrorists.
“We will not allow them to continue their lives as normal. The full force of the law will be brought to bear with even greater intensity than has been the case in previous years… I guarantee Kenyans that my administration shall respond in the severest ways possible to the Garissa attack, and any other threat to us,” he said.
The President also appealed for national unity at this time and called on Kenyans to work with the national security agencies to identify the terrorists, some whom he said were living in our midst. In so doing, he appealed to Kenyans to avoid victimisation that could divide the nation.
“Our security demands that we continue the difficult and daunting task of identifying, separating, tracking and deterring the enemy not only in Kenya but in Somalia, alongside our African and international allies.
This is why I am calling on all leaders, at all levels of government, in civil society and in the political opposition to speak in a united voice that reflects the importance of sustaining this initiative. Leaders should treat national security as a subject that demands the weightiest consideration,” he said.
It was unfortunate, he said, that the radicalisation that breeds terrorism takes place in the full glare of day, in madrassas, in homes and in mosques with rogue Imams and urged the public to share this information with the government to help it combat terrorism.
According to President Kenyatta, it is unfortunate the narrative being propagated that Kenyan Somalis and Muslims are victims of marginalisation and oppression by the rest of Kenya.
“Nothing could be further from the truth. They enjoy the full rights, privileges and duties of every Kenyan,” he said.
See attached is the President's speech.