Three men found guilty of 2015 attack on Kenya university
Nairobi, Kenya - Three men have been found guilty of terrorism charges over the 2015 militant attack on a Kenyan university that left nearly 150 people dead.
A Nairobi court on Wednesday found Rashid Mberesero, Hassan Edin Hassan and Muhamed Abdi Abikar guilty of committing a terrorist act, conspiring to commit a terrorist act and belonging to a terrorist group.
They will be sentenced on July 3. A fourth man, Sahar Diriye, was acquitted of all charges. The court did not explain why it had taken so many years to make a ruling.
In April 2015, gunmen stormed into Garissa College University on Kenya's border with Somalia, first killing two security officers before firing indiscriminately at students.
Witnesses reported that the gunmen also separated the Christians and Muslims, sparing the latter. In some cases, the militants forced students to call relatives to listen in during the killings.
By the time security forces arrived hours later, dead students lay in rows.
Al Shabab later claimed responsibility for the attack. Two senior Al-Shabaab operatives, including the alleged mastermind, were killed in Somali counter-terror operations in 2016.
The effects of Kenya's largest terrorist attack since 1998 are still being felt today by survivors, their families, and first responders.
Fedhi Channan, a student volunteer who was one of the first responders to receive the bodies as they arrived in Nairobi, said, "When you see trucks of bodies coming, it desensitizes you in a very unnatural way. Being a student at university, and also being a volunteer in a situation where students had suffered, it was very difficult for people like me to focus.
"Any student who was going to school at the time of these attacks suffered because everyone was wondering which university is going to get hit next," Channan said. "We are all students. We're all trying to get to school, if it happened in Garissa, what's to say it wouldn't happen here."
A long road to recovery
For the survivors and the families of the victims, the road to recovery is a long one. Micheal Gathaburu, a branch coordinator for the Red Cross, offers psychosocial support in an attempt to help them move past the attacks.
"Most of the students can still hear the gunshots," he said. "The attack may be over... but the experience kept coming back to their minds, some of them could not even sleep, because they could remember the smell of the blood, some of the could not even eat meat anymore.
"Speaking to them, you could see they are having a reaction, it was as if it was happening to them again. Their minds have not moved on from that situation, so they are still stuck there."
Risper Nyang'au was attending early morning prayers when the attackers threw a grenade into the room and sprayed the room with bullets. For months after the Garissa attacks, she struggled to walk.
Two years ago, she testified in the attackers' trial. "Those of us who lived, we still have not healed," she told CNN at the time.
Combating Al Shabab.
Al Shabab, which claimed the Garissa attack, is based in neighboring Somalia. The militants have vowed to continue their attacks across the border until Kenya withdraws troops from Somalia, where it is helping fight the Islamist terror group.
Most recently, the group claimed responsibility in January for an attack on an upscale Nairobi hotel. In a statement, it claimed the attack was a response to US President Donald Trump's 2017 decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.