GARISSA, Kenya -- As CBS News correspondent Debora Patta arrived Friday in the eastern Kenyan town of Garissa, they passed makeshift tents that had been set up at the local airport. Students fled to the airport during Thursday's massacre at their college by militants from the al Qaeda-linked group al-Shabaab.
The students slept in the tents Thursday night, guarded by soldiers. They were to be taken back to their homes Friday, and they all have a terrifying story to tell.
At least five masked gunmen stormed their campus at Garissa University College at first light on Thursday. People fled in all directions.
Students described how the men marched from room to room demanding to know if those inside were Christian or Muslim - many Christians were shot on the spot.
"I saw the attackers fully covered in some clothes only leaving a slit for their eyes," one student said. "When I saw that, I ran for my life. I got my fellow students together, opened two windows, put chairs down to help us jump out."
Many more were taken hostage.
Patta said Kenya's president Uhuru Kenyatta sent in security forces to try and flush out the gunmen -- all members of al-Shabaab, a group based in neighboring Somali which has claimed responsibility for the killing spree.
A 13-hour siege ensued, with running gun battles heard throughout the day.
At the end of the ordeal, at least 147 students lay dead and more than 70 others were injured and hospitalised. Security has been tightened, but for the students at Garissa University College it came too late.
Patta said the town has been left awash in trauma and tears. One student told her she lay under her bed for all 13 hours, listening to the gunmen shoot students who were unable to recite verses of the Quran.