Garissa, Kenya (CNN)Kenyan authorities had intelligence that a university in Garissa could be attacked, but after the alarm sounded during last week’s massacre, the country’s rapid response team was stuck in Nairobi for hours arranging for transport, a police source told CNN on Monday.
It’s not clear why the elite team was stuck in the Kenyan capital, roughly 370 kilometers (230 miles) west of the attack, but the police source in Garissa said that Kenyan politicians and Nairobi-based journalists arrived on the scene before the team did. Journalists on the ground corroborated that report.
Once the team entered the university complex, the situation was quickly defused, journalists and the police source said.
Manoa Esipisu, a spokesman for Kenya’s president and deputy president, defended the response time, telling CNN there is always criticism regarding whether “you reacted as fast as you have or shouldn’t have.”
“With the benefit of hindsight you can always say things could have been done better,” he said, adding that Kenyan authorities saved a lot of students and “got the job done.”
Who’s behind attack?
The Kenyan government says Mohamed Mohamud is the mastermind of Thursday’s terrorist attack on Garissa University College, which killed close to 150 people.
The country’s Interior Ministry singled out Mohamud, a senior leader of the terrorist group Al-Shabaab, on Twitter. He is also known by the aliases Dulyadin and Gamadhere, it said.
Al-Shabaab, an al Qaeda-linked militant group based in Somalia, has claimed responsibility for the university attack.
Mohamud is “credited with having an extensive terrorist network within Kenya,” according to a Kenyan ministry document given to CNN.
The ministry posted a “Most Wanted” notice for Mohamud. It offers a reward of 20 million Kenyan shillings, which is about $215,000. read more