Kenya University shooting hits home

A daylong siege at Garissa University in Garissa, Kenya resulted in the massacre of 147 and injuring of more than 79, according to CNN.

This is the highest death toll in Kenya since the 1998 al Qaeda bombing on the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi; many are saying the issue lies in security not being tight enough.

Junior Jonathan MacLachlan lived in Kenya and attended school at Rift Valley Academy in Kijabe, Kenya for three years.

“A bunch of Christians were persecuted if they didn’t state the Islamic statement of faith,” MacLachlan said of the recent event.

“Going to school in Kenya, it is a huge thing that strikes home. I remember the same terrorist organization, Al-Shabaab, that carried out this attack occasionally gave death threats to our school. Being at an American school actually made us a bigger target,” MacLachlan said.

“They came in and beefed up the security, because Kenyans are very aware and careful, because they would have rather gone to a place with lower security.”

MacLachlan said that in the local communities of Kenya, people are very aware of the threat, but there is a lot of awareness in the states as well.

Missionary kid from Kenya and junior at the University, Morgan Haynes said, “The attack will likely lead to deteriorating relations between Kenyan Muslims and Kenyan Christians.”

She said that, “large scale persecution of Christians by Kenyan Muslims does not happen. Kenyan Muslims make up less than 12% of Kenya’s population.”

“However, Al-Shabaab will probably continue to terrorize Kenyan Christians. I also think that Kenyan Muslims will face persecution from other Kenyans, Christians and otherwise, in the aftermath of Al-Shabaab terrorist attacks,” Haynes said.

MacLachlan recalled how the American residents and internationals received emails from the Embassy to not frequent certain areas in order to remain safe.

He also remembered an attack in September of 2013 at Westgate mall in Nairobi, Kenya in which 67 deaths and over 175 wounded resulted from the same terrorist group.

“I remember shopping in that mall, and I had friends that were shopping in there that day; a lot of internationals shop there. I knew people that died there that day,” MacLachlan said.

“It was so scary seeing those pictures and news images, like I remember standing next to the candy stand that was now covered in blood and full of bullet holes. I remember buying candy from that vendor who was lying on the ground dead,” MacLachlan recalled somberly.

He said it truly brings it home and makes it real. “There is now an ingrown fear of never knowing when or where the next attack may happen,” he said.

Now his family lives in Ethiopia and believes that it is more stable there. He thinks that Kenya gets more terrorist attention due to its relationship with the west.

“We may say it may never happen to us, but it can totally even happen here in the states, even Siloam Springs, it’s sometimes when you least expect it,” MacLachlan said.