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Support pledge after Kenya massacre

Published 03/04/2015

A Kenya Defence Forces soldier secures the area around the Garissa University College (AP)
A Kenya Defence Forces soldier secures the area around the Garissa University College (AP)

The Government has pledged to support Kenya in fighting terrorist groups after a devastating attack at a university during which 147 people were killed by extremists.

Somali-based Islamist extremist group Al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the 13-hour assault at Garissa University College in the north east of the country, during which the four attackers also died.

Kenya's National Disaster Operations Centre said last night that 79 students had been injured in the massacre, which has resulted in the highest death toll of any attack the country has seen by the militant group.

Africa minister James Duddridge said Britain will stand by Kenya after the "senseless" act.

"I strongly condemn the attack that took place this morning in Garissa, Kenya. I offer my condolences to the families and loved ones of those who died," he said.

"There can be no place for such senseless acts of violence in our societies.

"The UK will continue to stand by and support the Kenyan government in its fight against terrorism, and in its efforts to bring to justice those responsible for this barbaric act."

The Foreign Office had already advised against all but essential travel to certain areas of Kenya, including Garissa County.

Former prime minister-turned education campaigner Gordon Brown had earlier called for the "immediate and safe release" of students as he condemned the use of universities as "theatres of violence".

He also remembered the hundreds of other students who have been killed or captured by terrorist groups - including more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Chibok, Nigeria, almost a year ago, the murder of 120 students in an attack in Pakistan several months ago, and the abduction of boys from schools in South Sudan to serve as child soldiers.

"There have been more than 10,000 attacks on schools and educational establishments during the past five years," he said.

"This is unacceptable and individuals and armed groups using schools as theatres of violence must be brought to justice."

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