NAIROBI, Kenya (AFP) — The funerals began Friday of students killed in a university massacre of almost 150 people, as some parents still waited to receive the remains of their loved ones.
In Nairobi, hundreds of students gathered as the body of Angela Nyokabi Githakwa, known as Jojo, was taken amid tears and wails from the mortuary to her home village in Kiambu, some 20 kilometers (15 miles) to the north.
Friends and family sobbed around the white coffin, with a gold cross on top.
On Thursday, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta signed letters to the families of those killed, expressing his “condolences and that of the entire country.”
“I promise that as a nation, we shall never forget them, nor forgive those who took her life,” Kenyatta’s letter to one student read.
The massacre, Kenya’s deadliest attack since the 1998 bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi, claimed the lives of 142 students, three police officers and three soldiers at the university in the northeastern town of Garissa.
Kenyatta’s letter has been given to the families of 130 victims, with the remaining to be “signed after identification procedures are complete,” a statement from the president’s office said.
In the main mortuary in Nairobi, some bodies were being collected on Friday, with more than 20 coffins lined up, surrounded by photographs of the victims.
Dozens of people, however, are still waiting to collect the bodies of their relatives over a week since attack.
Jackson Kilimo waited with a sombre family group to collect three victims, who all came from Kenya’s Marakwet district, 380 kilometers (235 miles) northwest of Nairobi.
“We identified the bodies the day after the tragedy happened, but it took time because the government wanted to be 100 percent sure of the identities, and the post mortem procedure takes time,” said Kilimo.