The Egyptian Foreign Ministry released a statement Saturday condemning in the “strongest terms” an attack by Al-Shabab gunmen on the Garissa University College in eastern Kenya.
A similar statement Sunday by religious institution Al-Azhar struck the same chord in a statement.
The attack, which occurred early on Thursday and lasted about 15 hours, left approximately 150 people dead. The gunmen stormed the university campus before dawn, killing the only two guards protecting the campus. The gunmen then headed for the student dormitories, first firing indiscriminately at the students, and later singling out Christians.
The attack is in line with earlier Al-Shabab attacks on Kenyan soil, most prominently the attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall that killed 67 people and severely shook Kenya’s tourist industry. Al-Shabab considers this retaliation for the Kenyan intervention in Somalia, aimed at thwarting the radical militia.
In a statement by Al-Shabab, the group justified the attack with Garissa County being “Muslim land under colony”. They accused the government of trying to spread Christianity and infidelity there. The attack is the deadliest in Kenya since the US embassy bombings in 1998 that left around 200 dead.
The attack had earlier been condemned by the UN and the US, with the latter reaffirming their commitment to support counterterrorism operations in Kenya.