Kenyan university death toll now at 147

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The number of people killed in an attack by al-Shabab Islamist militants on a university campus in north-eastern Kenya has risen to 147, Kenyan government officials say.

The operation to secure the Garissa University College campus was now over, with all four attackers killed, they added.

Officials said 587 students had been evacuated, 79 of whom were injured.

Nine critically injured students were airlifted to the capital Nairobi for treatment, they added.

But each student had been accounted for by the end of the evacuation. Masked gunmen had stormed the university early on Thursday morning.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned what he called a "terrorist attack" and said the UN was ready to help Kenya "prevent and counter terrorism and violent extremism".

The United States said it was offering Nairobi assistance to take on al-Shabab and will continue to work with others in the region to take on the group.

The Kenyan government has named Mohamed Kuno, a high-ranking al-Shabab official, as the mastermind of the attack.

A BBC Somali Service reporter says Mr Kuno was headmaster at an Islamic school in Garissa before he quit in 2007.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta offered his condolences to families of the victims and ordered "urgent steps" to ensure police recruits could begin training immediately. "We have suffered unnecessarily due to shortage of security personnel," he said.

Earlier, al-Shabab told the BBC its members were holding Christians hostage and freeing Muslims. The gunmen reportedly ordered students to lie down on the floor, but some of them escaped. Student Augustine Alanga told the BBC's Newsday programme: "It was horrible, there was shooting everywhere."

He said it was "pathetic" that the university was only guarded by two police officers.

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