Rift Valley Institute of Science and Technology students are bundled into a police car after arrest for demonstrating along the Nakuru-Eldoret highway. [Photo: Joseph Kipsang/Standard]
Nakuru, Kenya: Violence broke out Thursday at the Nakuru-based Rift Valley Institute of Science and Technology ((RVIST) as students demonstrated after it emerged that one of their colleagues had been raped and brutally injured by unknown assailants.
The irate students blocked the busy Nakuru-Eldoret highway at the Ngata Bridge section, demanding justice for their assaulted colleague lamenting that most of them had been attacked and robbed of their valuables at the 2KM notorious stretch connecting the institution and the highway.
Sylvester Kibet, a student leader, told The Standard they had received reports at 9pm the previous night that a student had been raped at the bridge.
He said they rushed there and found the first-year girl writhing in pain and her torn clothes thrown metres away. She was naked and could not speak.
“We found her crying and confused. She was naked and traumatised. We then realised she had been raped and that is when we informed the police and college administration before she was rushed to hospital,” said Kibet.
The irate students demanded that the county government, in conjunction with the institution erect security lights along the notorious bridge as students who live outside campus are always in immense danger.
Police engaged the hundreds of students in running battles for hours. The rioting students blocked the road for 30 minutes causing a huge traffic snarl-up.
A lorry transporting beer was hit and badly damaged by the students during the fracas but police arrived before its contents could spill.
“They targeted matatus and lorries. We thought it would be a peaceful demonstration but they (students) seemed to be up to something different. They paralysed businesses and I fear they might even have injured some people,” said Michael Malomalo, a resident in the neighbourhood.
Police lobbed tear gas canisters and used live bullets to disperse the demonstrators who regrouped and threw back stones at the officers before more officers were called in.
Nakuru OCPD Benard Kioko, who led the anti-riot team, said he had arrested more than 40 demonstrators but expected the number to go up as the flushing out continued.
“Students should desist from engaging in unlawful strikes. There are better avenues to express displeasure other than blocking the highway that is the lifeline of Africa. Students should be careful at night. Those arrested will be arraigned in court to answer to several charges,” said Kioko.
RVIST Chief Principal Eddy Koimet, who tried to stop the students from matching to the highway in vain, declined to speak to the press.
“The Principal did not support us in the demonstration although he is alive to the magnitude of the matter. We expected him to be on the forefront since rape can happen to anyone,” said an outraged student who sought anonymity.
Meanwhile, doctors attending to the rape victim at the Mediheal Hospital said that the girl was out of danger and was responding well to medication.
Dr Dhiren Parikh said that the girl was brought to the facility at around 1.30am and told medics that she had been raped in turns by three men.
Parikh said the student also had injuries on her neck indicating the assailants tried to strangle her.
“She is very traumatised and shocked. She cannot speak or do anything but she is out of danger. We may discharge her in three days,” said Parikh.
No one has been arrested in connection with the rape.
Meanwhile, residents of a village in Gilgil are in shock after stumbling on three decomposing bodies dumped by the roadside. Police suspect they were brutally murdered elsewhere and ferried to the area.
The bodies, which included one woman, were found in JICA village along the dusty Gilgil-Kiambogo road.
The badly decomposing bodies were first spotted on Wednesday evening in a volcanic fault line near the road.
Gilgil OCPD Serah Koki said the bodies were of two elderly men and a middle-aged woman.
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