Today April 2, Kenyans from all and sundry gathered on at Garissa University College in remembrance of 148 people who lost their lives to the deadly terror attack by the al-Qaeda’s East Africa branch militants.
Garissa which is 365 kilometres (225 miles) northeast of the capital Nairobi, saw a huge turn out of people with hundreds of them wearing T-shirts with peace slogans written on it. They all engaged in a run to honor of the victims mostly students who were dead in their dormitories in 2015.
The marathon race which kicked off by 7:30am was done under tight security in and around the university college, with those entering subjected to thorough frisking and screening by armed security personnel.
Well respected local political and religious leaders were not left out in the exercise. The five-kilometer marathon was led by Garissa Township MP and National Assembly Majority Leader, Aden Duale, who were at the leading front.
The deadly attack by four Shebab on April 2 last year is considered the worst of its kind that ever befall the country as lots of the country’s citizens were sporadically executed. This occurred after the terrorists bombed the US embassy in Nairobi killing 213 people in 1998.
The organizers of the event said the marathon was meant to bring cohesion and integration between Kenyans and the Garissa Township MP Aden Duale was reported to have said that seeing the large turn out meant all citizens of the country are united against terrorism.
“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,” he said.
Mr. Duale who acknowledged that the attack was not exceptional to the country alone, added that the Garissa University college attack will always remain fresh in his memory as one of his darkest moments.
However, Duela appreciated the effort done by the government after the attack and Kenyans for their efforts in making the day a memorable one.
“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.
“I also appreciate the government because security was boosted and a request by leaders to post local security heads to the region was also granted,” he said.
More to this, Garissa Township lawmaker revealed how the residents stood and mourned with parents and relatives of the diseased.
“We will stand united and as Kenyans we will not allow the pen to be replaced by the bullet, we are here one year later to tell the nation and the whole world that what is happening in Brussels, Istanbul in Turkey can only be defeated when we come together globally,” he said.
He however urged the parents and relatives of the those attacked to realize that they are not alone,”our spirits are with you and pray to Almighty God that God will comfort you and together as nation and country we remain united,” he added.
Terrorist attack has been frequent in Kenya with lots of lives mostly from their military being lost. But the good news is that the government alongside international bodies are at their best to restore peace in the country.