Kenya’s interior minister admitted on Thursday that serious mistakes were made in the lead up and response to the bloody terrorist attack at a college last month.
Nearly 150 people were killed on April 2 when gunmen from the Somali terror group al-Shabab attacked Garissa University College in northeast Kenya. Kenyan authorities have faced fierce criticism for failing to prevent the attack and for what was perceived as a slow and ineffective response to the assault.
Kenyan Interior Minister Joseph Nkaissery on Thursday acknowledged during a parliamentary committee meeting that intelligence reports warning of an attack were ignored and that operations during the siege were poorly coordinated, according to Agence France Presse. “There was lack of coordination on the side of the officers, there was intelligence that this place was going to be attacked,” Nkaissery said.
Nkaissery, who was appointed in December, specifically blamed Garissa County Commissioner Nijenga Miira for failing to beef up security after intelligence about a possible terror operation emerged, the news agency reported. “[Miiri] received this information and did not act on it,” the interior minister said on Thursday.
The attack against Garissa University College was the worst in the country since the U.S. embassy bombings in 1998. In a raid that lasted nearly 15 hours, four terrorists brutally slaughtered 148 people, mainly Christians. Survivors say the attackers wore suicide vests and lined up Christian students for execution.
Critics have slammed the response of Kenyan authorities to the assault, asking why it took up to seven hours for a police unit trained to deal with such assaults to be deployed.
Nine top officials in Garissa, including Miira, have been suspended pending an investigation into their response to the tragedy.