#147notjustanumber trends as Kenya mourns Garissa victims with candlelit vigil

Kenyans attend a memorial vigil for victims at the "Freedom Corner" in Nairobi.Reuters

A candlelit vigil was held in Nairobi on Tuesday evening in honour of those killed in last week's attack on Garissa University in Kenya.

The current death toll stands at 148, most of them students, who were murdered in a vicious attack by Somali Islamist militant group al Shabaab. Witnesses reported that gunmen singled out Christians for point-blank executions during a 13-hour killing spree. Some survivors were forced to pretend they were dead by covering themselves in blood.

Three days of mourning were held throughout Kenya, and the vigil on Tuesday saw organisers plant crosses in the ground at Nairobi's Freedom Park, each guarded by a candle, to represent the lives lost. Mourners also held candles and flowers, while the names of the victims were read out.

On Twitter, the hashtag #147notjustanumber has been trending, in reference to an earlier death toll. People used social media to share stories of those who were killed, and to criticise the Kenyan government for the lack of security and for what many see as a slow response to the incident.

Ahead of the vigil, hundreds of students marched through Nairobi to demand better protection. "Enough is enough. The government must tackle the issue of insecurity seriously," John Derrick, a student at the Technical University of Kenya, told Reuters.

The national prosecutor's office said that six suspects were taken to court on Tuesday in connection with the attack. Prosecutors said the chief magistrate granted them 30 days to complete investigations while holding them in police custody.

Al Shabaab has killed more than 400 people on Kenyan soil in the last two years, including 67 during a siege at Nairobi's Westgate mall in 2013, piling political pressure on President Uhuru Kenyatta that intensified with last week's killings.

Kenya has struggled to stop militants and weapons cross its 700-km (440-mile) border with Somalia, and the violence has damaged the economy by scaring away tourists and investors. On Monday, the Kenyan air force launched air strikes against al Shabaab targets in Somalia.

Additional reporting by Reuters