International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Garissa University College Killings shock Kenya

A recent article from Human Rights Watch discussed an armed attack on Garissa University College in Kenya yesterday (April 2nd, 2015). The attack confirmed at least 147 dead and 80 injured. The scale of the event was Kenya’s worst terr04Kenya3-web-master675orist attack since the bombing of the United States Embassy in 1998 that killed 213 people. The Al-Shabaab militant group was responsible for the killings that targeted the students at the College. Al-Shabaab is an extremist group based in Somalia and the group is responsible for many armed attacks in Kenya that has resulted in approximately 800 deaths.

Regardless of Kenya’s efforts in the past to enter Somalia and put a stop against Al-Shabaab, Kenya is still a very vulnerable country that is prone to attack. “Kenya’s efforts to tackle rising insecurity have been marred by serious human right violations, including extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, and torture by security forces” (Human Rights Watch). The international community should keep an eye on the violence in Kenya due to the fact that there has been discriminatory abuses of Muslim and ethnic Somali communities. Kenyan police also have to be wary of mistreating it’s own citizens while providing security forces after the attack regardless of the shock and anger they obtain.

An attack of this size shows the hostility and disdain for human life in Kenya. According to Leslie Lefkow, “To counter the threat effectively, Kenyan security forces should ensure a lawful response in line with human rights.” I agree with this statement, the Kenyan government has to be careful in it’s decisions on how to police this event and be even more careful in how it responds to Al-Shabaab.

Two Thursday’s ago the Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta, apologized to the Kenyan people for the past wrongs committed by his and past governments. The apology was taken differently by many people, however, Kenyatta was finally taking ownership of the abuses caused by post-election violence in the ’07-’08 election. Perhaps the Kenyan people should all start to unite and work together under a cohesive government after this recent attack on the Garissa University College. The apology can be used to spark a unity in Kenya that is so desperately needed in order to prevent future terrorist attacks that are easily penetrating the country.


2 responses to “Garissa University College Killings shock Kenya

  1. pollorey April 4, 2015 at 11:21 am

    The university shootings that occurred in Kenya last week is a part of years of the Islamic militant group, al-Shabab’s, violent activities in western Africa—namely Somalia and Kenya. The attack represents an ongoing security threat, in one of the most stable and prosperous countries in sub-Saharan Africa, to nationals and foreigners alike. Western countries have issued warnings to those travelling to Kenya that the area is high risk, which has threatened Kenya’s stability and hampered economic growth marked by the lack of tourism. Furthermore, the attacks in the region demonstrate how jihadist groups can remain dangerous even as they lose territory and leadership. Business Insider’s defense and military editor, Armin Rosen stated that the group “has retained its external attack capabilities and command structure despite suffering what would seem to be a series of debilitating setbacks.” Al-Shabab has lost many of its most notable leaders in counterattacks against Kenyan and Somalian forces, which has left the group debilitated, yet still capable of inflicting large-scale damage as is symbolized by this most recent attack.

    The attack will not only further hinder Kenya’s economy, but potentially the future of its leadership. Many of the victims of the killings were young, promising, and educated people who are essentially the future of the country. This shooting, which has resulted in the most deaths linked to al-Shabab activity, was a very strategically planned occurrence that has undoubtedly woken up the current leaders of the nation. In an effort to boost security in the region, President Kenyatta has vowed to train and install 10,000 security personnel. However, is this enough to stop the bloodshed? The attacks by al-Shabab mimic the activities of terrorist groups in Nigeria and Syria that continue to leave a devastating impact in their respective regions. The parallels between these Islamic militant groups begs the question, what more can be done to put an end to the mass killings of innocent civilians?


  2. pyanson April 6, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    In response to the university shooting, Kenyan fighter jets bombed an al-Shabab training camp in Somalia. This is the severe response that President Kenyatta vowed following the massacre. Civilian response in the aftermath has been strong, protesting the government’s actions and complaints. One of the shooters has been identified as the son of a government official, raising concerns about homegrown terrorism. Instability grows in a country where recent violence following the 2008 presidential elections is still fresh in the minds of its people. Somali-Kenyans fear crackdowns from the Kenyan police force, which leads to further resentment and radicalization.

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