The Garissa Massacre: Stories from the Survivors
ICC Note: Almost four months after the April 2 attacks on Garissa University, where al-Shabaab terrorists spared Muslim students and specifically targeted and killed Christian students, survivors of the attack recall in horror the events that unfolded that day. In the aftermath of the attack, the students explained how several Christians now fear living on campus, and that tensions have been heightened between Muslim and Christian students. Simon Kande, the chairman of FOCUS, has asked for prayers of healing and protection, while also praying to remain a powerful witnessing community for Christ at Garissa University.
By Krish Kandiah
7/25/15, Kenya (Christian Today) – “I heard gun shots at 5.50am and I managed to hide in the wardrobe for one and a half days. When I was rescued I found out my roommates did not survive. Because of my tiny wardrobe space, I was unable to walk for two weeks after that but I thank God for sparing my life” – Elsie Karemi.
The world was shocked when news of a massacre on a Kenyan university campus broke over the Easter weekend this year. What wasn’t widely reported was that many of the victims, like Elsie, were members of an evangelical student ministry called FOCUS.
The ministry began in the late 1950s, started by Christian faculty at the University of Nairobi. It is now working in 144 universities and higher education colleges. There are 68 staff, including 32 interns, and in total there are 42,000 students in the movement.
Garissa is in Northern Kenya and is the only university campus in that region. The FOCUS group there had 250 students involved, meeting for Bible study, prayer and praise. Like all the student Christian Unions in Kenya they hold their own Sunday services. In a Muslim dominated area both Muslims and Christians wake up early to pray. It was normal custom for CU members to meet at 5am for daily morning devotions.