The details of yesterday's slaughter of 147 people, mostly students, at a college in Kenya are coming together, and they suggest that the attack by al-Shabab militants was well-planned. For one thing, the gunmen first went to a Christian prayer service at a lecture hall to begin their killing. "They knew everything," survivor Helen Titus tells AP. She says she escaped because she smeared blood on her face from fellow students, and militants thought she was dead. From the prayer service, the militants went to the college's dormitories, separating Muslims from non-Muslims, reports the New York Times. Titus says the gunmen promised not to shoot women, but did anyway. Some students fled to safety, some surrendered and were killed or freed, and some tried in vain to hide under their beds and in their closets.
"They were shot there and then," says survivor Nina Kozel. A medic tells CNN that almost all of the victims were shot from behind. "They're facing down, always," says the medic. "They're always facing down, and they're shot in the heads, around the back." A spokesman for al-Shabab says that the group went after Kenya because of that nation's foray into neighboring Somalia to fight the militants, and that it went after Garissa University College in particular because it was educating Christians as part of Kenya's "plan to spread their Christianity and infidelity.” Relatives of the victims are seething at what they see as lax security by the government, reports Reuters. Only the day before, President Uhuru Kenyatta declared that "Kenya is as safe as any country in the world." (Read more Kenya stories.)