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aljazeera

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Kenyans are mourning their dead after a daylong siege by al-Shabab militants at an eastern university Thursday that left 147 people dead along with the four attackers.

The Kenyan government is offering a $220,000 reward for an al-Shabab member in connection with the attacks: Mohammed Mohamud Kuno, who is already on a government watch list. Also known as Gamadhere or Dulyadayna, he is suspected to be the miliant group's chief for external operations against Kenya.

Kuno is wanted for questioning about the attack at Garissa University, where attackers stormed the campus before dawn Thursday and opened fire. Security forces battled the militants for 15 hours and rescued more than 500 students before fatally shooting the attackers.

Interior Minister Joseph Nkaissery said the four gunmen had explosives strapped to their bodies and blew up "like bombs."

Claim of revenge

Al-Shabab said the attack was revenge for Kenyan military action inside neighboring Somalia, where the Islamist militant group is based.

Somalia's President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud called for greater security cooperation with Kenya, offering his condolences after what he described as a "barbaric" attack. He said Friday that the killings underscore the need to eliminate al-Shabab's "menace" from the region.

Some witnesses say the university attackers were separating Christians from Muslims, taking Christians and some others hostage.

The attack was the most violent in Kenya since the 2013 terrorist strike on Nairobi's Westgate Mall, which killed more than 60 people.

A White House spokesman said the United States condemned Thursday's terrorism against "innocent men and women." He said the U.S. stands with the Kenyan people, who "will not be intimidated by such cowardly attacks."

Police reinforcements planned

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta told the nation that "this is a moment for everyone throughout the country to be vigilant as we confront and defeat our enemies."

He ordered 10,000 police recruits whose enrollments are still pending to immediately report for training at the police college.

"We as a country have suffered unnecessarily due to a shortage of security personnel," he said. "Kenya badly needs additional officers, and I will not keep the nation waiting."

Al-Shabab is an al-Qaida-linked group that has battled the Somali government and its allies since 2006. The group has attacked targets in Kenya since Nairobi sent troops across the border in 2011.

The University of Nairobi warned its students last week that Kenyan government agencies had intelligence reports indicating al-Shabab was planning an attack on a major university, among other targets. It was not clear if a similar warning was issued in Garissa.


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