Hundreds of mourners gathered at Garissa University College on Saturday at the start of first anniversary commemorations of the deadly attack that left 148 people dead, most of them students.
Four gunmen from Al-Shabab, raided Garissa University College on April 2 last year, shooting students dead in their dormitories and then rounding up and executing scores more in a hall of residence.
Hundreds of people including local political and religious leaders, led by Garissa Township MP and National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale, turned for a five-kilometre memorial marathon that kicked off at 7:45am.
Activists led by Journalist Lolani Kalu organized the four-day arts and culture festival where that also included a candle lighting ceremony to remember those who perished there.
Up to 148 trees are also expected be planted in the memory of those killed in the attack.
Speaking after finishing the marathon, the Garissa Township MP Adan Duale said the event gathered people of different walks of life.
“We stand with the parents, we want to tell them that together as a country, from the north to the south, west to east, Muslims and Christians… together we must fight terror,” said Duale.
He commended the top security chiefs who hail from the region for their commitment to improve the security in the area.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all Kenyans for standing with Garissa at their hour of need, this clearly shows that we are united to defeat this menace by the name Al-Shabaab.
Garissa University Principal Ahmed Warfa who described the attack as the “lowest moment in my life,” said “such a thing should never be allowed to happen again anywhere in the world”.
“It has been a very traumatic time and a very low point for us, as teachers and the entire Garissa university fraternity. The incidents of that day will remain deep in our hearts for as long as we live because we lost our beloved innocent students,” he said.
The memorial was also attended by other leaders including Garissa Governor Nathif Jama, Elias Bare Shill (Fafi MP), Garissa Woman Representative Shukran Gure and Nominated MP Abdinoor Mohamed.