A survivor of the Kenya university massacre in which 148 people were killed has told how she hid from gunmen by covering herself with clothes in a wardrobe.
Cynthia Cheroitich was found by security forces two days after the attack, as medical staff carried out the grim task of dealing with the victims’ bodies.
The atrocity was carried out by four gunmen from the al Qaeda-linked Somalia-based terror group al Shabaab, who were killed at the end of the day-long siege.
Ms Cheroitich, 19, said from her hospital bed that she had hid in a large cupboard, refusing to emerge when some of her classmates came out of hiding at the demands of the extremists.
She said the Islamist militants separated the group into those who could read Arabic and who could not.
Ms Cheroitich, a Christian, said: “I was just praying to my God.”
She also said she drank lotion to stave off thirst and hunger.
She said she did not believe that rescuers urging her to come out of her hiding place were there to help, suspecting at first that they were militants.
It was only when security forces had one of her teachers appeal to her that she did she come out, she said.
Fellow student Cheruiot Tiebafy told how he used the blood of his colleagues to survive Thursday’s massacre at Garissa University College.
He said: “Actually I am the only man who survived from all the boys who were held hostage.
“I just smeared the blood of my colleagues, I ate the blood to be my lunch and I go to sleep there for around 13 good hours when we got to be hostage and I pretended to be dead.
“They turned me around, they kicked me but I’m alive.”
As al Shabaab warned of more attacks, claiming: “Kenyan cities will run red with blood”, the country’s president said the planners and financiers of assaults like the one at the university were “deeply embedded in our communities”.
Uhuru Kenyatta has declared three days of national mourning and vowed his government would respond in the “severest ways possible” to the atrocity.
More details have emerged of those arrested or sought over the massacre.
Police named militant Islamist Mohamed Mohamud, a quietly-spoken former teacher, as the alleged mastermind of the shootings.
The alleged al Shabaab member, a Kenyan of Somali origin, is also wanted in connection with a string of recent cross-border killings and massacres in Kenya’s northeastern border region.
While Mohamud, thought to be in his late 50s, did not take part physically in the attack, survivors described the attackers as men like him: speaking Kenya’s Swahili language well, with some suggesting they may have been Kenyan too.
Kenyan police have arrested five men in connection with the university massacre.
The name of the three suspected organisers were not given, but the two arrested on campus included university security guard Osman Ali Dagane and Tanzanian Rashid Charles Mberesero, who was found hiding in the university’s ceiling with hand grenades.
The attack at the university, which is near the border with Somalia, left 148 dead, including 142 students, three police officers and three soldiers.
It was Kenya’s deadliest attack since the 1998 bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi.
Source : Sky News