Garissa University College death toll hits 15 after gunmen attack

Policemen at the entrance of Garissa University College on April 2, 2015 after armed gunmen attacked the institution. PHOTO | ABDIMALIK HAJIR | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The death toll from an attack by gunmen at Garissa University College in northeastern Kenya on Thursday morning has risen to 15.

Kenya Red Cross officials said at least 65 people, including two police officers, were injured by the attackers and had been rushed to a hospital.

The two officers and a civilian were airlifted to Nairobi for treatment.

The gunmen are said to have attacked the institution around 5.30am on Thursday.

Unconfirmed reports say that students may have been taken hostage. reporter Abdimalik Hajir said he saw the bodies of the guards near the university's main gate.

Students outside Garissa University College after gunmen attacked the institution on April 2, 2015

Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet said there was a shootout between the attackers and police officers who were guarding the students’ hostels.

"The attackers shot indiscriminately while inside the university compound.

“However, the attackers retreated and gained entry into the hostels. … (A) joint force composed of NPS officers and other security agencies arrived and are engaged in an elaborative process of flushing out the gunmen from the hostels,” he said in a statement posted on his Twitter account.

KDF and police have entered the university’s compound.

Following the attack, the Somalia-based Al-Shabaab militant group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Terrified students rescued from the college were gathered at a KDF camp near the Garissa airstrip.

In the meantime, Mr Boinnet, who flew to Garissa following the attacks, urged Kenyans to remain calm as security authorities dealt with the situation.

He was accompanied by the Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery and Garissa Township MP Aden Duale.

At the same time, students who were seriously injured were flown to Nairobi for treatment.

In a tweet, Kenya's Interior Ministry said one of the attackers had been arrested as he tried to flee from the scene.