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Garissa University College reopens after terror raid

By Adow Kalil Jubat | January 5th 2016

Garissa University College reopened Monday, nine months after closure following a terrorist attack in which 148 people, mostly students, were killed.

The low-key reopening ceremony was filled with emotions as survivors, including the college principal, remembered the fateful night that saw Al-Shabaab gunmen storm and butcher students in a 10-hour ordeal.

Addressing journalists after several hours of a closed door meeting, the principal, Ahmed Warfa, said most of the staff had reported back to the college to begin working.

“Sixty self-sponsored students, who were not redeployed to other campuses of Moi University, will commence classes on January 11, while new students are expected to join the university in the September intake,” he said.

He said a security post with adequate personnel was established within the university as a deterrent to a repeat of what had happened on April 2, 2015.

The Government is also spending Sh230 million to erect a permanent perimeter fence equipped with CCTV cameras to detect any possible threats.

The principal said the university senate accepted a proposal from local leaders and communities asking for the reopening of the institution after the Government fulfilled all the required security measures.

He said the 60 privately-sponsored students whose studies had been suspended have also been requesting for the university to reopen so that they can resume their studies, since most of them were employed at the local county administration or the national government and they could not move out of the region.

Kept vigil

A spot-check by The Standard found that security was extremely tight in and around the university, with armed security officers and private security thoroughly frisking all those going into the campus during the ceremony.

Journalists were also required to produce their press cards and deposit their national identity cards with guards at the sentry.

Uniformed police officers were stationed at all corners of the university, while others kept vigil at their newly-built police post, which is inside the institution.

While recalling the April terrorist attack, Warfa said when he moved around the college, he became emotional after recalling what transpired on the fateful night that left more than 100 of fellow students dead at the hands of terrorist.

“I wish I was armed and trained on use of firearm that night. I would have fought with the attackers and at least saved some of my students,” he said.

“It pains me up to this date,” he added.

Northeastern Regional Coordinator Mohmud Saleh said there is 24-hour patrol around Garissa town since the attack.

He said problems of insecurity between Elwak-Arabia-Mandera town in Mandera would be solved through regular swoops.

Last month during a tour of the university, Deputy President William Ruto promised that the Moi University senate would meet to work on modalities on how the institution would be reopened.

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