Kenya government denies Garissa missing students claim

woman pays tribute at Freedom Corner in Uhuru Park in Nairobi on April 7, 2015 during a candlelight vigil to the victims of an attack claimed by Somalia"s Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents on a university campus in Kenya"s northern town of Garissa Image copyright AFP
Image caption Kenyans are mourning the victims who were mainly students

The Kenyan government has dismissed a claim that 166 students are still unaccounted for after the attack on Garissa University College.

The Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) said on Tuesday that they feared the missing students had been kidnapped by al-Shabab, Kenyan media report.

The ministry of education said that the UASU was spreading "unfounded rumours".

An assault by the Somalia-based al-Shabab group killed 148 people at Kenya's Garissa University last week.

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Media captionThe Kenyan government has begun handing over the bodies of those killed s

An angry worded statement signed by Education Minister Joseph Kaimenyi said that it was "unfortunate" that the UASU would make these claims which would only "exacerbate pain and suffering of parents and relatives in mourning".

It also said that spreading such "rumours" could be against a security law passed last year.

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UASU Secretary General Muga K'Olale said on Wednesday that he feared the students he said were missing "might have been kidnapped by al-Shabab, and the government should come clean about their whereabouts", Kenya's Standard newspaper quotes him as saying.

The ministry of education statement shows the figures in an effort to clarify that everyone, alive or dead, has been accounted for but it may have added some ambiguity.

It says that 815 are confirmed to have been enrolled at Garissa University College and that 663 students were rescued.

The government gives the student death toll as 142, which - when added to the number rescued - still leaves 10 students unaccounted for.

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