Washington: US President Barack Obama telephoned Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday to express condolences for the 147 lives lost in an attack on a Kenyan university by the Somali terrorist group Al Shabab, the White House said.
"The president emphasised his support for the government and people of Kenya as they stand united in the face of these despicable acts," according to the White House.
Obama expanded on those sentiments in a subsequent public statement.
"Michelle and I join the American people in expressing our horror and sadness at the reports coming out of Garissa, Kenya," the president said. "Words cannot adequately condemn the terrorist atrocities that took place at Garissa University College, where innocent men and women were brazenly and brutally massacred."
The attackers shot their way past campus security guards to reach the dormitories, where they questioned students one-by-one about their religious affiliations before executing the non-Muslims.
"I know firsthand the extraordinary resilience and fundamental decency of the people of Kenya," said Obama, the son of a Kenyan father and an American mother. "So I know that the people of Garissa and all of Kenya will grieve, but their determination to achieve a better and more secure future will not be deterred."
"The future of Kenya will not be defined by violence and terror; it will be shaped by young people like those at Garissa University College -- by their talents, their hopes, and their achievements," the president said.
Obama is scheduled to visit Kenya in July and one of the items on the agenda for his talks with Kenyatta will be continuing US support to the African nation in the fight against terrorism.