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Kenyan court convicts three for aiding deadly Islamist attack on university

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By Humphrey Malalo

NAIROBI (Reuters) – A Kenyan court on Wednesday convicted three people of terrorism-related offences for helping Somali Islamist militants carry out a 2015 attack on a university that killed 148 people, most of them students.

Al Shabaab jihadists stormed Garissa University on April 2, 2015 and sought to kill Christian students in particular. It was the worst such attack in the East African state since al Qaeda, to which al Shabaab is affiliated, bombed the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, killing 258 people.

The court convicted two Kenyans and a Tanzanian national and chief magistrate Francis Andayi said prosecutors had “established its case beyond reasonable doubt” against the trio.

No details were immediately available on how the three assisted the militants.

Andayi ordered the defendants – Rashid Mberesero, a Tanzanian, and Hassan Aden Hassan and Mohamed Abdi Abiar – to be remanded in custody until July 3 when they will be sentenced.

A fourth defendant, Sahal Dity Hussein, was acquitted of all charges for lack of evidence.

Al Shabaab has carried out frequent attacks in Kenya to press it to pull its troops out of the African Union peacekeeping force in neighbouring Somalia.

As well as Garissa, there have been assaults in the border region, along parts of Kenya’s Indian Ocean coast favoured by tourists, and in the capital Nairobi including the 2013 Westgate shopping mall attack in which 67 people were killed.

In January, al Shabaab attacked an upscale Nairobi hotel compound, killing 21 people.

(Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Elias Biryabarema and Mark Heinrich)

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