Three men convicted in Kenya of conspiracy over Garissa University massacre of Christian students

A court in Kenya convicted three men of helping Islamist extremists carry out a massacre at Garissa University in which 148 mainly-Christian students died in 2015.

The two Kenyans and a Tanzanian, who are likely to receive life imprisonment when they are sentenced on 3 July, were found guilty on 19 June of conspiracy to commit the attack, and guilty of belonging to Al Shabaab, a Somali Islamist militant group with links to Al Qaeda. A fourth man was acquitted of the charges.

Judge Francis Andayi said prosecutors had proved “beyond reasonable doubt” that the three men “knew the plot”. The defense team said they would appeal the verdict.

Kenyan security forces at the scene of the Garissa University massacre by Al Shabaab on 2 April 2015

The four gunmen who carried out the attack on 2 April 2015 were killed at the scene. They forced their way into the university at 5.30 a.m. and singled out the Christian students for execution in a merciless, day-long bloodbath. The jihadists allowed Muslim students to go free.

Al Shabaab is fighting to establish a fully Islamic state in Somalia and neighbouring regions with significant ethnic Somali populations, such as north-east Kenya.

The group has carried out numerous attacks in Kenya, and on its Christian residents, since 2011 when the Kenyan government sent troops into Somalia to counter terrorist activity. In October 2016, twelve Christians were killed in the town of Mandera, in north-east Kenya, when Al Shabaab militants attacked a guesthouse.

The university campus remained closed for nine months after the slaughter of 148 mainly-Christian students

Other atrocities carried out by Al Shabaab included the murder in September 2018 of two Christian passengers on an ambushed bus who refused the jihadists’ demands that they recite the shahada (Islamic creed), and the killing of three Christians in a primary school compound in February 2018.

Barnabas Fund,