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Family of Strathmore university security drill victim seeks compensation

By Wilberforce Netya and Brigid Chemweno
Updated Thursday, December 3rd 2015 at 00:00 GMT +3
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The family of the Strathmore University employee who died on Monday following a security drill is now seeking compensation from the institution.

Esther Kidambi, 33, is said to have jumped from the fourth floor to escape a “terrorist attack” in a drill which left more than 30 other people injured.

The deceased’s father, Herone Kadambi, said his daughter was the sole breadwinner of the family and also supported her siblings.

Esther studied at Strathmore before securing a job at the same institution.

Kidambi, a retired primary school teacher, said his daughter had assumed responsibilities of supporting the family since his pension was meagre.

He termed is daughter’s death as a big blow to the family and the entire community.

Yesterday, Aruba village in Sinyereri ward within Trans Nzoia County was in grief as friends and relatives of the deceased poured into her home to condole with the bereaved family.

Family members of the late Esther Kidambi (inset) view an album containing her photos at her Aruba home in Trans Nzoia County, yesterday. (PHOTO: WILBERFORCE NETYA/ STANDARD)

The deceased’s mother, Jacqueline Kidambi, who was still in a state of shock and disbelief, said the family will decide what step to take after coming to terms with the death of their daughter.

Over 15 people have so far died in Trans Nzoia alone from terror-related cases since April when more than 10 students from the county succumbed to gunshot wounds following the Garissa University terror attack.

Another student from the University of Nairobi, who hailed from Trans Nzoia County, also died after jumping from a storied building following a terror scare at the institution after an electricity transformer exploded.

Strathmore University’s Communications Director Betty Ngala told the Press on Monday that Esther succumbed to head injuries after a plunge.

An armed security officer, dressed like an Al Shabaab militant, entered the university and fired blank shots as he shouted that he was member of the terror group during the drill.

Meanwhile, eight Strathmore University top management staff want to resign over the security drill that went awry.

The institution’s Vice Chancellor John Odhiambo on Wednesday announced the employees had expressed their desire to quit and he would inform the university’s council to take appropriate action.

“We have decided to take this matter to the university council. I hope the council will move quickly and come up with a way forward,” said Prof Odhiambo.

He said the intention of the security drill was meant to help prepare the university community on how to respond to emergency situations occasioned by terror attacks.

Odhiambo said the director of security at the institution was in touch with OCPD Lang’ata and the Nairobi County Commandant’s office, adding that this was not communicated to the Inspector General’s office.

“We are working together with the family that lost their loved one to see how we can help them,” he said.

Police Spokesman Charles Owino on Tuesday denied claims that Strathmore University had informed the Inspector General of Police about the terror drill.

Langata OCPD Elijah Mwangi said the administration informed them of the drill, and added that they responded to show their level of alertness.

The drill had been organised by the university and security agencies to test the students’ alertness and response.

However, the mock operation went amiss when some students, unaware of the drill, jumped from storeyed buildings thinking they were under attack.

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