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Toronto Kenyan community in sorrow following Garissa attack

A week later, images and voices of crying school children still play vividly in Flora Terah’s mind.

“I just couldn’t breathe,” Terah said, describing her state after news broke of a terrorist attack at Garissa University in Kenya last Thursday.

Gunmen stormed the school, killing 147 people and injuring more than 70. Al-Shabaab, believed to be an offshoot of Al-Qaida , claimed responsibility.

Terah, a human rights activist, fled Kenya in 2008 after being abducted and tortured for her political ambitions, she said. She ran for a parliamentary seat in the 2007 elections, and the ensuing violence saw her 19-year old son murdered.

“I can’t even imagine the hopelessness of those mothers looking for their kids,” she said, adding that psychological support will be a huge part of coping with the aftermath of the attack.

Terah was already in preparation to launch her new book, Life Beyond Pain, tonight at City Hall. As soon as she heard about the attack, she chose to turn the event into a memorial.

“Innocent children who had gone to school with hopes to make their lives better, and now they are gone because of such heinous act,” she said. “It’s awful.”

There will also be an all-faith ecumenical prayers service Sunday at the Consolota Missionary Centre, to pay tribute to the victims of the attack.

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