The men came out in their night shorts as security agents urged them forward, out the Garissa University College gate, in a scene reminiscent of the 2013 Westgate Mall attack where those who managed to evade the terrorists’ gun fire were urged to keep moving forward and out the gate to waiting ambulances and safety by security and medical personnel.
Their stories were similar too, “we thought that it was power problems,” a student, Katherine, told AFP.
And just like those who were trapped in the mall with terrorists, they used all the means available to them to preserve their mortality.
“There are those who were not able to leave the hostels where the gunmen headed and started firing, I am lucky to be alive because I jumped through the fence with other students,” Japhet Mwala, another student, told AFP.
Also reminiscent of the Westgate attack was the speech President Uhuru Kenyatta gave in the wake of the attack which hauntingly dragged on for hours as it turned into a hostage situation and as the Al Queda affiliated Al Shabaab took credit for again catching Kenya unaware.
He gave the expected condolences and assured Kenyans that the situation was firmly in the hands of his security forces led by his newly appointed Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet and Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery.
What wasn’t expected and not reminiscent of the Westgate attack was his defiance of a court order.
President Kenyatta who for the last two years in office has been keen not to interfere with the mandate of the Judiciary, ordered that the 10,000 whose recruitment to the police service was quashed by the High Court in October 2014 report for training at the Kiganjo police training college.
Their recruitment was quashed after it emerged that the process was not above board.
He took, “full responsibility,” for his orders blaming Thursday’s early morning terror attack which claimed at least 15 lives on an overstretched police force.
“We as a country have suffered unnecessarily due to shortage of security personnel. Kenya badly needs additional officers and I will not keep them waiting,” he said.