GARISSA, Kenya — The Islamist extremists who slaughtered 147 people in a Kenyan school appeared to have planned extensively, even targeting a site where Christians had gone to pray, a survivor said Friday.
Police on Friday were at the campus of Garissa University College, taking fingerprints from the bodies of the four assailants and of the students and security officials who died so they could be identified.
One of the first things that the al Shabab gunmen did early Thursday, survivor Helen Titus said, was to head for a lecture hall where Christians were in early-morning prayer. Al-Shabab is a Somalia-based extremist group with ties to al-Qaida.
"They investigated our area. They knew everything," Helen Titus told The Associated Press at a hospital in Garissa where she was being treated for a bullet wound to the wrist. Officials said 79 people were wounded.
Titus, a 21-year-old English literature student, said she covered her face and hair with the blood of classmates and lay still at one point in hopes the extremist gunmen would think she was dead.
What is Al Shabab?April 2, 201501:21
The gunmen also told students hiding in dormitories to come out, assuring them that they would not be killed, said Titus, who wore a patient's gown as she sat on a bench in the hospital yard.
"We just wondered whether to come out or not," she said. Many students did, whereupon the gunmen started shooting men, saying they would not kill "ladies," Titus said. But they also shot women and targeted Christians, said Titus, who is a Christian.