Africa

Kenyans hold vigil in Nairobi for Garissa victims

Kenyans hold candles next to wooden crosses symbolising the victims of an attack by gunmen at Garissa University College, during a memorial vigil at the Freedom Corner in Kenya's capital Nairobi o 7 April 2015 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Kenyans say they are united against the militants

Hundreds of people have been holding a candle-lit vigil in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, to remember the victims of last week's attack at Garissa University College by al-Shabab gunmen.

A temporary shrine of crosses and candles has been set up and photos of the 148 victims of the group's deadliest attack in Kenya are on show.

Earlier, about 2,500 people marched in Garissa against the Somali militants.

Kenya has frozen the accounts of 86 people thought to be funding al-Shabab.

Thirteen hawalas - informal money transfer services - have also been closed down.

Hawalas are widely used by Somalis who depend on relatives abroad as a cheap and quick means to receive money.

Interior Minister Joseph Nkaiserry said the names of the individuals and hawalas had not yet been released.

Separately Five Kenyans appeared in court in Nairobi on Tuesday for suspected links with the attackers.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The suspects were not asked to plead when they appeared in court

The court agreed to the prosecution's request to detain them for another 30 days, while police investigate whether they supplied weapons to the attackers, Kenya's Capital FM reports.

A sixth suspect, a Tanzanian, is being held in the north-eastern town of Garissa, which is about 150km (90 miles) from the border with Somalia.

Al-Shabab has its headquarters in Somalia, but has stepped up attacks in Kenya in recent years.

Students demand protection

Many people came to the vigil in Nairobi's famous Freedom Park wearing black and carrying flowers.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Most of the 148 people killed were students
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Muslims and Christians showed their grief
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption It was the bloodiest attack in Kenya since the 1998 bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi

The BBC's Maud Jullien reports from the vigil that one person told her that now was the time for Kenyans to unite and to ask serious questions about how the attack could have happened.

The vigil ends three days of official mourning, although many of the dead have not yet been identified because of the horrific wounds they suffered in last week's attack.

Ahead of the vigil, several hundred students marched through Nairobi, demanding tighter security at universities and campuses.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Students marched in Nairobi, saying they could no longer live under the threat of attack

In Garissa, both Muslims and Christians took part in the march and promised to co-operate with the security forces to flush out militants who may be hiding in their community, reports the BBC's Bashkash Jugsooda'ay from the town.

However, protesters were also critical of the security forces, saying they were slow in their response to the assault, he says.

They pointed out that both the army and police had bases in Garissa, yet four gunmen managed to storm the campus, taking students hostage in dormitories and killing them in a day-long attack.

The government says the security forces responded swiftly, and saved the lives of about 500 other students.


Garissa university campus

1. Militants enter the university grounds, two guards are shot dead

2. Shooting begins within the campus

3. Students attacked in their classrooms while preparing for exams

4. Gunmen believed isolated in the female dormitories

5. Some students make an escape through the fence

Kenya's stoic survivors defy al-Shabab

Survivors 'were too scared to scream'

Who are the victims?

Why is al-Shabab targeting Kenya?


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