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Garissa accomplice gets life, two others 41 years, for Kenya massacre

PTI | Nairobi | Updated: 03-07-2019 21:36 IST | Created: 03-07-2019 21:32 IST
Garissa accomplice gets life, two others 41 years, for Kenya massacre
Image Credit: ANI

A Nairobi court Wednesday sentenced three men to terms ranging from 41 years to life for abetting the massacre of 148 people by Somali jihadists at Garissa University in northeast Kenya in 2015. "In this attack, many lives were lost and members of the public left in a panic," said Judge Francis Anday.

He sentenced Rashid Charles Mberesero, a Tanzanian, to life for his involvement in the attack. Two Kenyans, Mohamed Ali Abikar and Hassan Aden Hassan, were each given 41 years.

Mberesero was given the longer sentence as he was arrested at the scene of the massacre and could not explain why he was there, the court was told. All three were found guilty last month of being members of Al-Shabaab, a Somali jihadist group linked to al-Qaeda that carried out the attack.

Four Al-Shabaab gunmen stormed the students' hall of residence firing their weapons at dawn on April 2, 2015, before separating the victims according to their religion. Muslims were allowed to go but the rest were slaughtered, most of them Christians.

It was the second-bloodiest terror attack in Kenya's history, surpassed only by al-Qaeda's bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi in 1998 that killed 213 people. A fourth person, Sahal Diriye Hussein, was acquitted, according to the court's verdict, issued on June 19.

All four gunmen were killed by security forces. In 2016, the operation's suspected ringleader, Mohamed Mohamud, also named "Kuno," a former professor at a Koranic school in Garissa, was killed in southwestern Somalia.

According to the Shabaab, he was killed by "US crusaders". The Shabaab were chased out of Mogadishu in 2011 by the 22,000-strong African Union peace-enforcement mission, AMISOM.

They nevertheless control swathes of the countryside and remain the key threat to peace in Somalia. The group is fighting to overthrow the internationally backed government in Mogadishu.

It has also carried a string of attacks in neighbouring Kenya, which has troops in AMISOM. In September 2013, the Shabaab claimed responsibility for a raid on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi that killed 67 people over a four-day siege.


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