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ELECTION 2022

Security lights at Garissa University were off four hours before attack, court told

NORTH EASTERN
By Fred Makana | Nov 11th 2015 | 2 min read

Security lights at the Garissa University College were off four hours before the terrorist attack, a trial court was told yesterday.

Collins Waliula, the university's student leader at the time, recalled that on the fateful day, they were from a trip at Moi University with his 10 colleagues when they arrived at the campus at 1am and found the campus in total darkness.

"We reached at the university and found security lights were off, which was unusual. Due to the fact that we were tired, we did not bother to know why they were off. We went straight to sleep," Mr Waliula told Milimani Chief Magistrate Daniel Ogembo.

Waliula who was the first witness to testify in the case in which five suspects are accused of being behind the April 2 Garissa University College terror attack that left 149 people dead, recounted how they were woken by gunshots at 5am. Together with his room-mate, they opted to remain in their room.

The suspects are Mohamed Ali Abdikar, Hassan Aden Hassan, Sahal Diriye, Osman Abdi and Rashid Charles, a Tanzanian, who have since denied 162 counts of terrorism.

"The gunshots rang in the air and I heard my colleagues running up and down in the hostels. At first, we thought it was an ordinary robbery but the situation degenerated into something serious as the shooting continued for long," Waliula testified.

He also recalled that the President of the Student Council, Kumba Laban, and five of his close colleagues were victims of the deadly attack.

Waliula said while hiding in his room, he overheard one of the attackers shout in Swahili 'Kuna wengine wanaruka fence, piga wao risasi kwa miguu' (There are others  jumping over the fence shoot them on the legs).

He further claimed that the attackers were locals as he overheard them calling some students killed students by their names.

He said he tried to peep through the window of his room but could not manage to see the terrorists until 8am when he was rescued by the Kenya Defence Forces soldiers.

"I came out of my room and ran to where the KDF soldiers were, amid more gunshots and that is how I managed to escape. The soldiers later escorted me to their camp in Garissa town," he said.

Defence lawyers Steve Mogaka and Mbugua Mureithi sought to know the security situation at the university prior to the attack.

Waliula said the university gate was manned by two guards while two policemen were attached to patrol the campus throughout the day and night.

The hearing continues.

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