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Three Garissa attackers sentenced over university massacre

Hassan Aden Hassan, Mohamed Ali Abdikar and Rashid Charles Mberesero were sentenced by a Nairobi court on 19 June, 2019 for complicity in the attack at Garissa University in 2015.
Hassan Aden Hassan, Mohamed Ali Abdikar and Rashid Charles Mberesero were sentenced by a Nairobi court on 19 June, 2019 for complicity in the attack at Garissa University in 2015. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

A Tanzanian and two Kenyans were sentenced on Wednesday to life and 41 years, respectively, for their roles in the Garissa University massacre in north-east Kenya that killed 148 people in 2015.

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"In this attack, many lives were lost and members of the public left in a panic," said Judge Francis Anday.

Tanzanian Rachid Charles Mberesero was sentenced to life in prison. The prosecutor said he was found at the scene of the massacre and could not explain why he was there.

Kenyans Mohamed Ali Abikar and Hassan Aden Hassan were slapped with 41-year sentences.

All three had last month been found guilty of belonging to the Somali jihadist group al-Shebab.

The three were tried along with a fourth person, Sahal Diriye Hussein, who was acquitted last month.

Four Shebab gunmen targeted the university dorms at dawn on 2 April 2015. They separated Muslims from Christians and others before slaughtering the students. The gunmen were killed by Kenyan security forces.

The purported mastermind of the Garissa University plot was Garissa teacher Mohamed Mohamud, nicknamed "Kuno". Shebab said the former Koranic school professor was killed by the US in 2016.

Kenyan soldier at Garissa University, where Al Shebab gunmen killed 148 people in 2015.
Kenyan soldier at Garissa University, where Al Shebab gunmen killed 148 people in 2015. © AFP PHOTO / CARL DE SOUZA

Shebab remains a threat in Somalia and in neighbouring Kenya. The armed group was driven out of Mogadishu in 2011 by UN-AU joint forces but still targets the capital on occasion. They remain in the Somali countryside.

Kenyan troops make up a part of the AMISOM force, which is why Kenya has been targeted.

Shebab had previously attacked Westgate Mall in Nairobi in September 2013, killing 67 people over four days.

The Garissa University attack was the second-worst attack on Kenyan soil. The deadliest was the 1998 al-Qaeda bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi, which killed 213 people.

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