Two gunmen killed in Kenya university attack

Security forces take up positions near the Moi University campus during an attack by Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab gumen in Garissa, Kenya, on April 2, 2015 (AFP Photo/) (AFP)

Garissa (Kenya) (AFP) - Kenyan troops killed two gunmen from a gang of Somalian Shebab Islamist fighters who stormed a university Thursday, killing at least 15 students and seizing hostages, the interior ministry said.

"Two of the terrorists have been killed and the security forces are doing their best to free the hostages," Interior Ministry spokesman Mwenda Njoka said, with "security agencies intensifying the rescue operation."

Heavy gunfire and shouts from inside the building where hostages were believed to be held were heard by journalists with the Kenyan troops, as soldiers continued to battle the insurgents as darkness fell, over 12 hours after the attack began.

The Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab claimed responsibility for the pre-dawn attack, the same insurgents who carried out the Westgate shopping mall massacre in Nairobi in September 2013, when four gunmen slaughtered at least 67 people in a four-day bloodbath.

At least 15 students have been killed in the attack, the interior ministry said.

Kenya's official National Disaster Operation Centre said a further 65 had been injured, many suffering from gunshot wounds.

Soldiers told a journalist at the scene that they had heard screaming from inside the building, including shouts of "Allah hu Akbar", or "God is the greatest" in Arabic.

One suspected gunman was earlier arrested as he tried to flee the campus.