Obama reiterates plan to visit Kenya in wake of terrorist attack

President Obama expressed sadness Friday at the terrorist attack in Kenya that killed close to 150 people while indicating that his upcoming visit to the country will go on as planned.

“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 president said in a statement with first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaMichelle Obama criticizes lack of diversity in politics: one side is 'all white, all men' Obama interrupts Michelle's appearance with 25th anniversary tribute Michelle Obama: Young people feel what's happening now 'not what they were taught' MORE.

“We join the world in mourning them, many of whom were students pursuing an education in the pursuit of a better life for themselves and their loved ones.”

In his comments, he mentioned his planned trip to  Kenya this summer.

ADVERTISEMENT
“This much is clear: 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,” he said. “This is a message I will relay to the Kenyan people when I visit Kenya in July.”

White House spokesman Eric Schultz said Friday the administration was not worried that the Thursday attack might force a change in the president's travel plans.

Obama also spoke to Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday, expressing his condolences.

“He reiterated that he looks forward to meeting with President Kenyatta again in Nairobi in July, when the two leaders will discuss how to strengthen counterterrorism cooperation and continue to work together to build a safer and more prosperous future for Kenya and the broader region,” the administration said in a statement.

The death toll at the school, in the eastern Kenya, has reached 147 people.

Terrorist group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack.