An Easter mass in Garissa, Kenya
Members of the choir lead in a hymn during a special Easter mass at the Holy Family Basilica Catholic Church for the victims of the Garissa University attack Thomas Mukoya/Reuters

The son of a Kenyan government official has been identified as one of the Al-Shabaab gunmen who carried out a brutal attack on a Kenyan college on Thursday (2 April), killing 148 people.

One of the attackers, Abdirahim Mohammed Abdullahi, was the son of a government chief in Mandera County in the north-east of the country, Interior Ministry spokesman Mwenda Njoka said on Sunday (5 April).

Abdullahi was one of four Islamic extremists who attacked Garissa University College on Thursday, singling out Christians before gunning them down.

"The father had reported to security agents that his son had disappeared from home… and was helping the police try to trace his son by the time the Garissa terror attack happened," Njoka said.

Abdullahi studied law in Nairobi and was an "upcoming lawyer", he added, urging parents to inform authorities if their children go missing or show signs of radicalisation.

Also on Sunday, Easter ceremonies were held to remember the dead, as part of a national three-day mourning period for the victims of the attack.

Christians prayed, mourned and sang at Easter Sunday service at the Catholic Our Lady of Consolation church in Garissa.

"Thank you for coming, so many of you," Bishop Joseph Alessandro told the congregation, before reading out condolence messages from around the world, AP reported.

Pope persecution warning

In his traditional Easter message, Pope Francis called for an end to violence and oppression and prayed for the victims of the Kenyan massacre.

The Archbishop of Canterbury said the Kenyan victims "are witnesses, unwilling, unjustly, wickedly, and they are martyrs in both senses of the word".

Somalia-based Al-Shabaab Islamists had vowed to launch more attacks in Kenya on Saturday.

In a statement, the al-Qaeda-inspired organisation said: "No amount of precaution or safety measures will be able to guarantee your safety, thwart another attack or prevent another bloodbath from occurring in your cities."

"Not only are you condoning your government's oppressive policies by failing to speak out against them, but are reinforcing their policies by electing them. You will, therefore, pay the price with your blood," the statement added.