AU condemns Kenya terrorist attack

garissaADDIS ABABA. — The African Union has strongly condemned the terrorist attack on Thursday at the Garissa University College, in north eastern Kenya. According to official reports, 147 people, mostly students were brutally murdered, and dozens others injured.

Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the AU Commission, has condemned “the cowardly terrorist attack against the campus of Garissa University College, in northeastern Kenya, perpetrated by the Al-Shabaab terrorist group and during which scores of innocent students and staff were killed, while many others were injured,” said a statement from AU yesterday.

She said she was appalled by such a barbaric act, and offered the AU’s heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and wished speedy recovery to the injured.

“Such atrocious, despicable and barbaric acts of violence ought to have no place in any civilised society,” read the statement.

Dr Dlamini-Zuma expressed the AU’s solidarity with the people and government of Kenya and full support to their efforts in combating the scourge of terrorism.

She reiterated the AU’s deep appreciation to Kenya for its outstanding contribution to the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the huge sacrifices made towards stabilising that country, as part of the overall efforts to promote peace and security in the region and the continent as a whole.

Dr Dlamini-Zuma underlined the need for renewed and coordinated African efforts to prevent and combat terrorism and violent extremism, within the framework of the relevant continental and international instruments.

She reiterated the AU’s determination to continue supporting the efforts being deployed in this respect by the countries of the region, both through AMISOM and the Djibouti Process on the Enhancement of Security Cooperation in East Africa launched by the first meeting of the Heads of Intelligence and Security Services of the member states of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the East African Community (EAC), held in Djibouti a month ago, according to the statement.

There has also been widespread condemnation of Al-Shabaab’s heinous attack by the international community.

Pope Francis yesterday condemned the massacre of the 147 students that saw Christians targeted as an act of “senseless brutality” and said he would pray for the perpetrators to change.

The pontiff’s feelings were expressed in a telegram send by his Secretary of State Pietro Parolin to Cardinal John Njue on Good Friday, the holiest day of the year in the Christian calendar.

“Deeply saddened by the immense and tragic loss of life caused by the recent attack on the Garissa University College, the Holy Father sends assurances of his prayers and spiritual closeness to the families of the victims and to all Kenyans at this painful time,” the telegram read.

“In union with all people of good will throughout the world, His Holiness condemns this act of senseless brutality and prays for a change of heart among its perpetrators.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday condemned the terrorist attack and reiterated his solidarity with the Kenyan people and government.

“He (the secretary-general) conveys his deeply-felt condolences to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to the wounded,” deputy UN spokesman Farhan Haq said.

India also denounced the “barbaric terrorist attack” in a statement, with its external affairs ministry saying that India stood in solidarity and sympathy with the bereaved families and the injured, and conveyed “our heart-felt condolences to the government and people of Kenya.”

“This outrageous terrorist act is yet another reminder that the menace of terrorism continues to threaten us all and the international community needs to further strengthen its fight against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations,” the statement said.

In separate statements, foreign envoys from United States, Britain and Germany vowed to work with the Kenyan government to end the scourge of terrorism that has claimed many lives and maimed thousands in the East African nation.

US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec said the attack once again reinforced the need for all countries and communities to unite in an effort to combat violent extremism.

“We extend our deep condolences to the families and loved ones of all those killed in this heinous attack, which reportedly included the targeting of Christian students,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement.

In his statement, German Deputy-Ambassador to Kenya Friedo Sielemann encouraged all parties in Kenya to cooperate closely to face the challenges raised by terrorism.

“Germany sharply condemns the heinous terrorist attack on Garissa University, a place of learning and personal development. We share the pain of the families and friends who lost loved ones,” Sielemann said in his condolence message. “We stand by Kenya in solidarity in the fight against terrorism in East Africa.”.

In his statement, British High Commissioner to Kenya Christian Turner, whose country had warned of imminent terror attacks in the coastal region, Nairobi and Garissa, termed the attack as “cowardly”.

“Kenyan resolve and unity is stronger than terrorists’ hatred,” he said via Twitter on Thursday while condoling with victims and families.

Turner’s remarks on the attack came barely a week after the British government expanded its travel warnings to Kenya. — Xinhua/AFP/Herald Reporter.