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Al Shabaab say holding Christians hostage in Garissa attack

02 April 2015, 13:23

Mogadishu - Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked al Shabaab said their gunmen were holding Christian hostages after attacking Garissa University College on Thursday in an ongoing assault in revenge for Kenya's troops fighting in Somalia.

The gunmen divided students between Muslims and non-Muslims, letting the Muslim students go, insurgent spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage told AFP by telephone.

"Kenya is at war with Somalia.. our people are still there, they are fighting and their mission is to kill those who are against the Shabaab," Rage said.

"When our men arrived, they released some of people, the Muslims, and it is they that alerted the government.. we are holding the others hostage," he said, adding those seized were Christians, but not saying how many there were.

He did not give details on the number of casualties but said "there are very many."

The Kenya Red Cross which is leading the medical response to the attack said there were "an unknown number of student hostages" although "50 students have been safely freed".

At midday, Kenyan troops had surrounded the campus, with the interior ministry saying that the "attackers have been cornered in one hostel."

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