Garissa attack: Kenyans call for university to reopen

One of the university students (C) who were rescued, is overwhelmed by grief on 3 April 2015 Image copyright EPA
Image caption The survivors of the attack in April fled the college campus and left the town

Peace activists in Kenya are calling for the reopening of the college where 148 people were killed by gunmen from the Somalia-based al-Shabab group.

The April attack led to the closure of Garissa University College, which has had an impact on the local economy, the activists say.

Some students are also complaining that they are missing out on their education since the college was shut.

Al-Shabab has pledged a "long, gruesome war" against Kenya.

The activists have organised a four-day arts and culture festival in the north-eastern town of Garissa to challenge the perception that the place is no longer safe.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption There was national mourning in the wake of the massacre in April.

"We believe that you cannot fight terrorism with the gun, that will never succeed," the man behind the festival Lolani Kalu told BBC News.

He said that 200 people had attended the opening of the event and sang the national anthem in several Kenyan languages in a sign of unity.

There was a candle lighting ceremony to remember the victims and also the start of a project to plant 148 trees.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption It took Kenyan security forces a day to end the attack at the college

In an effort to show that things can get back to normal, 60 of the people at the festival are sleeping in the college dormitories where students were murdered, Mr Kalu said.

The government has not yet said when the college will reopen with the next academic year beginning in just over a month's time.

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