NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 5 – Authorities have now confirmed the identity of one of the four slain Garissa terrorists, as Abdirahim Abdullahi, a lawyer by profession.
The slain terrorist is one of the four men who stormed the Garissa University College on Thursday morning and executed 148 people, mainly students before three of them were shot dead by police. The fourth one blew himself up.
“It is true one of the four Al Shabaab militants who stormed Garissa University College killing 148 plus students has been identified as Abdirahim Abdullahi the son of a chief in Mandera County,” Interior Spokesman Mwenda Njoka said following our inquiry.
He said the father had reported to authorities about his missing son whom they believed crossed to Somalia. Abdullahi is thought to have gone to Somalia in 2013.
“The father had reported to the authorities that his son had gone missing and suspected the boy had gone to Somalia,” Njoka went on to say of the slain terrorist “who was a University of Nairobi law graduate and described by a person who knows him well as a brilliant upcoming lawyer.”
Investigators have traced records at a secondary school he studied known as WAMY High School and established that he obtained an A- grade when he sat for his Kenya Certificate of Secondary School Examinations (KCSE) exam in 2007, according to the Interior Ministry Spokesman.
“It is indeed very necessary and critical that parents whose children go missing or show tendencies of having been exposed to violent extremism report to authorities to help prevent further escalation of radicalization,” he said.
Police were still trying to identify the rest of the three slain terror suspects.
The naked bodies of the slain terrorists were on Saturday paraded to enable local residents in Garissa identify them.
Hundreds, including children, took to the streets to see the corpses, which were piled on top of each other face down in the back of a pick up truck, that drove down the main street in the northeastern town of Garissa.
Some threw stones at the bodies as they passed, others jeered and shouted at the dead.
The pickup drove for almost half a kilometer (0.3 miles) from the hospital before stopping near a children’s playground, chased by young men. Hundreds more came to join the crowd despite the foul stench from the charred bodies, now swollen two days after they were killed.
“The intention was not a parade, but rather for public identification so that if anyone can recognise them whether they are a relative or someone who knows them,” local police chief Benjamin Ong’ombe said, adding the bodies were then returned to the hospital mortuary.
“Too many people turned out, so we had to return them,” he added.
As well as the four gunmen killed, five men have also been arrested in connection with the university massacre by Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked Al Shabaab militants.
Thursday’s attack on Garissa University, situated near the border with Somalia, claimed 148 lives, including 142 students, three police officers and three soldiers.
Many in the crowds took photographs with their phones of the bodies, but many said they were disgusted at the parade.
“Bringing the bodies of the deceased, whether terrorist or others, and then running them naked in the streets, will only incite terrorists to act with more hatred in another attack,” said Abdi Hussein, a local elder. “It is against humanity to parade naked bodies.”
The massacre was Kenya’s deadliest attack since the 1998 bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi, and the bloodiest ever assault by the Al Shabaab militants.
“Driving around on the streets in broad daylight in a country which upholds human dignity is embarrassing,” said Ahmed Yusuf, a student at another local college.
“Instead of driving bodies around the streets now, the security forces should had pro-actively gone out to stop them from killing students,” he added.
Sh20 million bounty has been offered for alleged Al Shabaab commander Mohamed Mohamud, a former Kenyan teacher believed to now be in Somalia and said to be the mastermind behind the Garissa attack.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has vowed, in his second address since the massacre, an offensive never seen before on terrorists in Kenya and urged the public to cooperate with security forces.