Anti Al-Shabaab Demonstrations Held Across Kenya

Hundreds of Kenyan residents have rallied at a state sponsored protest in the capital Nairobi to condemn the recent Al-shabaab attack on Garissa University premises, which killed 147 people on Thursday.

The protest, which blocked off main Nairobi streets, was staged two days after Al-shabaab massacred innocent students inside a University campus in Kenya’s north eastern town of Garissa.

Masked gunmen, belonging to the Somali terror group al-Shabaab, stormed Garissa University on Thursday, engaged police and military forces in a day-long siege. By the end, dozens had been killed – including four gunmen and many others were wounded.

U.S. President Barack Obama, who this week announced plans to make his first official visit to Kenya, called the nation’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday to express his condolences.

Obama said his upcoming trip, scheduled in July, will not be affected by the university attack.

“Words cannot adequately condemn the terrorist atrocities that took place at Garissa University College, where innocent men and women were brazenly and brutally massacred,” Obama said in a statement. “We will stand hand-in-hand with the Kenyan Government and people against the scourge of terrorism and in their efforts to bring communities together.”

Protestors were chanting anti Al-shabaab slogans and expressed their strongest anger towards the latest Al-shabaab attack, despite police firing teargas to disperse gathered crowds, officials said. No casualties have been reported.

Garissa religious leaders denounced the group’s recent attacks against the students saying their actions are un-Islamic.

The demonstration comes as Al Shabaab has vowed to carry out further attacks in Kenyan cities.

The Somali President called for close cooperation with neighboring Kenya to win the war against Al Shabaab.

Kenya has experienced waves of attacks since it sent troops inside Somalia in October 2011.

Omar Wardere is a Somali researcher, reporter and editor. He is a committee member of National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) and member of Foreign Correspondents Association of East Africa.