Garissa University College on Sunday marked two years since the deadly Al-Shabaab raid that claimed 147 lives among them security officers, with calls for a resolve to fight terrorism in the country.
In a low key ceremony attended by Garissa County commissioner James Kianda and other security officials, the university and Athletics Kenya organised a 5km marathon in memory of the victims.
On the fateful day, on April 2, 2015, four terrorists stormed the institution which is a constituent college of Moi University in a shooting spree.
In an interview with the Nation at the university on Sunday, Mr Kianda said the country had learnt a lot from the attack, adding that a multi-agency approach towards fighting terrorism had been adopted.
This, he said, had reduced terrorism since the attack. He, however, said the terror threat was still there because of the porous Kenya-Somalia border.
“There have been multi-agency approaches where all security organs including the National Police Service, regular police, General Service Unit, Kenya Defence Forces and other security organs work together in the fight against terror,” said the administrator.
Mr Kianda said they also ensure that the gap between the security officers and the public is reduced so as to build confidence among the public and encourage sharing of information without fear.
He said security officials had also been working on intelligence-led operations as the public had been helpful in making sure terror threats were reduced.
Security was tight in and around the university during the second anniversary, with armed security officers manning the institution.
“Police officers are working to ensure lives and property are protected in all institutions, such as service delivery and learning bodies. Currently, there are police officers at Garissa Teachers College, NEP Polytechnic and Garissa Medical Training College among others,” he said.
“We understand terror threats still exist and we have deployed enough officers at the border to deter any threats within the country and we have also increased patrols to ensure the menace is completely wiped out,” he added.
Athletics Kenya’s vice-president Paul Mutui, who flagged off the marathon, said nothing justified the killings, adding that the purpose of the race was to remember those who were killed in cold blood by terrorists.
“Whether it is hatred, political, religious, and cultural differences or anything else, human beings must learn to co-exist and nothing can justify the killing of another for whatever reason,” he said. Adding that more than 200 athletes have participated in the marathon.
Garissa University College Principal Ahmed Warfa said the institution will never forget the students who lost their lives at a time when they were out to make a better future for themselves.