NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A leading Kenyan university should have sought authorization from the “highest security office in the country” for a practice exercise to test terrorism preparedness that led to a stampede in which one person died, a police spokesman said Tuesday.
Police are discouraging institutions from carrying out drills on their own, said Charles Owino said in a statement Tuesday. Strathmore University in Nairobi carried out a drill Monday that students believed was real and stampeded, killing one staff member. Strathmore has said the drill was carried out in collaboration with area police.
Strathmore University board apologized to the school fraternity and condolences to the family of one staff member who died as a result of injuries received during the drill aimed at testing the preparedness of the university and emergency response team in the event of an attack.
University vice chancellor, Prof. John Odhiambo said the institution will pay the medical fees for the 30 people injured including 20 who are still in a hospital, two in critical condition.
Some students told local radio station Capital FM that loud bangs and people pretending to be extremist attackers caused panic, causing everyone to flee. Memories of the April 2 attack by four gunmen from Somali extremist group al-Shabab that killed 147 people at a university in eastern Kenya are still fresh with many Kenyans.
In an earlier incident, one student died and 141 were injured when students of a Nairobi university stampeded when they mistook a loud blast by an electrical fault for a terrorist attack.
Kenya has experienced a wave of bomb and grenade attacks since it sent troops to Somalia to fight the Islamic extremists of al-Shabab in October 2011. Kenyan troops are now part of African Union troops bolstering Somalia’s weak government against al-Shabab’s insurgency.
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