GARISSA, Kenya (AP) — A survivor of the killings at Garissa University College was found on Saturday, two days after the attack by Islamic extremists killed 148 people.
Cynthia Cheroitich, 19, told The Associated Press from her hospital gurney that she hid in a large cupboard and covered herself with clothes, refusing to emerge even when some of her classmates came out of hiding at the demands of the gunmen from the al-Shabab group.
Survivor of the killings at Garissa University College Cynthia Cheroitich, 19, who was found on Saturday two days after the attack, drinks some milk in a hospital ward in Garissa, Kenya Saturday, April 4, 2015. Cynthia Cheroitich, 19, told The Associated Press from her hospital gurney that she hid in a large cupboard and covered herself with clothes, refusing to emerge even when some of her classmates came out of hiding at the demands of the gunmen from the al-Shabab group. (AP Photo/Christopher Torchia)
She was rescued shortly before 10 a.m., according to Kenyan officials.
Cheroitich said she didn’t believe that rescuers urging her to come out of her hiding place were there to help, suspecting at first that they were militants.
“How do I know that you are the Kenyan police?” she said she asked them.
Only when Kenyan security forces had one of her teachers appeal to her did she come out, she said.
“I was just praying to my God,” Cheroitich, a Christian, said of her ordeal.
Cheroitich appeared tired and thirsty, sipping on yoghurt and a soft drink, but otherwise seemed in good health.
She said she drank a lotion because she was so thirsty and hungry while in hiding.
The good news that Cheroitich survived the attack came as grieving Kenyans gathered in Nairobi to view the bodies of family members killed in the Garissa attack.
Five people have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the Garissa attack, a Kenyan official said.
Kenyan security agencies arrested three people trying to cross into Somalia, said Interior Ministry spokesman Mwenda Njoka in a Twitter post. He said the three are associates of Mohamed Mohamud, also known as Dulyadin Gamadhere, a former teacher at a Kenyan Madrassa Islamic school who authorities say coordinated the Garissa attack. Kenyan authorities have put a $220,000 bounty for information leading to Gamadhere’s arrest.
The three arrests brings to five the number of suspects arrested in relation to the Garissa attack as two suspects were arrested at the college.
Al-Shabab on Saturday warned of more attacks in Kenya like the assault on Garissa University College, according to the SITE intelligence monitoring group,
The Islamic militant group issued a statement which said the attack on Garissa college was in retaliation for killings carried out by Kenyan troops fighting the rebels in Somalia.
The attack on the college in northeastern Kenya on Thursday killed 148 people.
“No amount of precaution of safety measures will be able to guarantee your safety, thwart another attack or prevent another bloodbath,” said the statement.
“Kenyan cities will run red with blood … This will be a long, gruesome war of which you, the Kenyan public, are its first casualties,” said the statement, issued on Shabab affiliated webites and Twitter accounts.