Survivors of Garissa University College terror attack being ferried to their homes after the institution was closed indefinitely. (Photo:File/Standard)
Italy has offered 25 scholarships to Garissa University College students that survived the deadliest terrorist attack on Thursday last week.
Visiting Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Paolo Gentiloni said his country was deeply saddened by the happenings in Garissa where heavily armed Al Shabaab terrorists descended on the University College and killed 148 people, most of them students.
He said the 25 students will be offered full scholarship to study and complete their courses in Italian universities. In addition the Italian government will extent some soft loan to Kenya to help settle the students in the aftermath of the attack.
Gentiloni said the Italian population had received the news with profound shock and wants their government to assist Kenya in combating terrorism. He said his country was willing to assist Kenya in combating terrorism having experienced in their history in the 70’s where they dealt with terrorists (mafia) and overcame.
“My Government wants to work closely with Kenyan Government to make sure terrorism is checked. We are very keen to ensure stabilisation of Somalia which is the base of Al Shabaab terror group. “We are also offering Kenya training opportunities for its officers to capacity-build on anti-terror squad,” said the Minister.
He said sharing of intelligence information at government level will be enhanced in an effort to stem terror from the roots.
Amb. Amina Mohamed, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade thanked Mr. Gentiloni whose visit had only one agenda; to discuss the tragic terrorist attack with a view to strengthening Italian Government support in the fight against terrorism.
“To confront an invisible and unpredictable enemy which can strike any time and in any part of the country, we need highly trained rapid deployment security units that should be stationed in various parts of the country, and especially the most vulnerable areas. Kenya therefore welcomes support for our efforts in training and adequately equipping more officers who will be deployed to handle challenges of the terrorist variety,” said Amina.
“As a nation, we have suffered immense emotional distress through the loss of irreplaceable precious lives. This heart wrenching experience has hardened our resolve to confront and defeat this monstrous evil. Although we are bloodied, we remain firmly unbowed.” She said Kenya is seeking to strengthen partnerships and cooperation with other actors in the international arena in confronting terrorism and violent extremism.
This will be done through prioritizing prevention of radicalization and recruitment as a strategy of dealing with terror at its roots. “This strategy underlines the urgent need to gather intelligence information in order to identify and apprehend not only those planning attacks but also those preaching violent extremist ideologies and undertaking recruitment exercises in education institutions, mosques, the internet, prisons, in communities and in all other possible fora,” said Amina.
Mr. Gentiloni was accompanied during the one day visit by Ettore Francesco, Chief Cabinet and Mauro Massoni, Ambassador of Italy to Kenya.
On the Kenya side Amb. Mohamed was accompanied by Political and Diplomatic Secretary at the Ministry, Amb. Ben Ogutu and kenya’s ambassador in Rome Amb. Josephine Gaita.