Kenya attack: Survivor describes how he escaped execution

One student explains how he kept himself alive while his friends were executed around him.

FILE: Kenya Defence Forces pictured after they ended a siege by gunmen at a university on April 2, 2015 in the northeastern town of Garissa. Picture: AFP

GARISSA - Survivors of the University of Garissa massacre on Monday started sharing their incredible stories as relatives continued to identify the bodies of the students slain during last week's ordeal.

One of those stories is that of second-year mathematics student, Cheruiyot Bervin.

He described to an Eyewitness News correspondent how he kept himself alive while his friends were executed around him.

Bervin said he was one of the first students to be taken hostage by al-Shabaab gunmen.

They found him hiding in the toilet in his residence and forced him and about 100 others into the hostel across the road.

"Somebody was sleeping on my legs and as he rose up his head I told him to keep it [his head] down and then he was shot. He was shot in the head."

He said he then covered himself in the blood of the man next to him and played dead.

"The man who was ordering [the gunmen] to shoot the others ordered them not to shoot me because he had already shot me."

Fourteen hours later, he walked out alone - the only one of his group to be rescued by the military.

Bervin said he was struggling to understand why he survived and so many others didn't.

At the same time, the Kenyan government on Sunday confirmed the identity of one of the gunmen responsible for the attack.

All four gunmen were killed when soldiers stormed the campus late on Thursday.

It now appears the parading of the bodies in public of the alleged gunmen in the campus massacre served two purposes: one to assure the community the men who carried out the attack were indeed dead, and two to identify the suspects.

WATCH: Kenya police parade terrorists bodies in public.

On Sunday the interior ministry confirmed one of the men was positively identified as the son of a government official.

Spokesman Mwenda Njoka said Abdirahim Abdullahi, a law student at the University of Nairobi, was one of the attackers that killed nearly 150 students and staff.

Abdullahi's father apparently reported his son's disappearance to police more than a year ago.

He is due to travel to Garissa and identify his son's body.

While police were still working on the identities of the other three, five other suspects linked to the attack are due to appear in court this week.

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday said the planners and financiers of Islamist attacks were "deeply embedded" within Kenyan communities and urged Muslims to do more to fight radicalisation.

A Garissa-based official said the government was aware Abdullahi had joined the militant group al-Shabaab after graduating in 2013.

"He was a very brilliant student. But then he got these crazy ideas," said the official.

The al-Shabaab group said the assault on Garissa, some 200km from the Somali border, was revenge for Kenya sending troops into Somalia to fight alongside African Union peacekeepers against the al-Qaeda-aligned group.

The militants have threatened to turn Kenyan cities "red with blood" and police have stepped up security at shopping malls and public buildings in the capital Nairobi, and the eastern coastal region which has been prone to al-Shabaab attacks.

The Garissa assault has further strained the historically cordial relations between Kenya's Christian and Muslim communities, which have deteriorated due to frequent Islamist attacks on Christian priests and churches.

Kenyan priests said they feared churches could be targeted on Easter Sunday, the main liturgical feast in the Christian calendar.

"We are very concerned about the security of our churches and worshippers, especially this Easter period, and also because it is clear that these attackers are targeting Christians," Willybard Lagho, a Mombasa-based Catholic priest and chairman of the Coast Interfaith Council of Clerics said.

He said churches Mombasa were hiring armed police and private security guards for mass on Easter Sunday.

Christians make up 83 percent of Kenya's 44 million population.

WATCH: Footage shows students running for their lives.

Additional reporting by Reuters