Somali militants have vowed on Saturday, April 4, to wage a long war against Kenya and run its cities "red with blood" after killing nearly 150 people during an assault on a Kenyan university.
In the worst bloodshed in Kenya in nearly two decades, four gunmen went on a killing rampage on Thursday, April 2, hunting down and executing students in a campus in Garissa, a northeastern town 200 kilometres from the Somali border.
The raid has put Kenya on heightened alert and alarmed Christian congregations, who were horrified by survivor testimonies recalling how the Islamist militants had sought out Christians to take hostage and kill, while sparing some Muslims.
In the message directed at the Kenyan public, the al-Qaeda-aligned group said the raid was retribution for Kenya's military presence in Somalia and mistreatment of Muslims within Kenya.
"No amount of precaution or safety measures will be able to guarantee your safety, thwart another attack or prevent another bloodbath from occurring in your cities," the group said in an emailed statement obtained by Reuters in the Somali capital.
It said it would run cities "red with blood", adding: "This will be a long, gruesome war of which you, the Kenyan public, are its first casualties."
The death toll in the Garissa onslaught has risen to 148, Interior Minister Joseph Nkaissery said on Friday, April 3, adding that police were interviewing five suspects after making three additional arrests that day.