Nairobi University Students Stampede After False Terror Attack, One Killed

University of Nairobi

It was only an explosion from a nearby power transformer, but that was all it took to send jittery residents at Nairobi University into a panic.

Just 10 days ago, the Islamist terrorist group Al-Shabaab attacked Kenya’s Garissa University College and killed 148 students.

Al-Shabaab is a Somali terrorist group that has pledged itself to Al Qaeda.

The attack left Nairobi University students and teachers in fear of being attacked again according to CNN.

With the incident still fresh in peoples’ minds, the blast was mistaken for another terror attack, setting off a massive stampede. The BBC reported some residents jumped from hostel windows believing militants would be in the entrance ways, but in the end more than 100 were injured and one died and no terror attack occurred.

Nairobi University’s Vice Chancellor, Peter M.F. Mbithi, said, “As we mourn the unfortunate loss of the departed student, we are also praying for the quick recovery of those who were injured.”

The Kenyan government is also reacting severely to the terror attack.

Officials plan to close down Dadaab refugee camp, which means 500,000 Somali refugees will have to return home. The move has drawn criticism from human rights groups. Human Rights Watch Africa Deputy Director Leslie Lefkow explained that closing the camp would not mean justice for the victims in Garissa University.

“Instead of scapegoating refugees, Kenya is legally obliged to protect them until it is safe for them to return home and should identify and prosecute those responsible for the killings in Garissa.”

Nevertheless, Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto called for the closure of the camp. He said that the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had three months to find new arrangements for the Somali refugees, and after that Kenya would “relocate them ourselves.”

UNHCR Kenya chief Emmanuel Nyabera said that relocation would be a “logistic challenge” according to the BBC.

Dadaab is the largest refugee camp in the world according to Al Jazeera. It was originally set up in 1991, after the Somali civil war sent families fleeing from the country. Some people have lived in the camp for 20 years, making relocation even more difficult.

The Al-Shabaab attack at Garissa University also prompted protests for better security at universities.

In the meantime, students from the University of Nairobi try to recover from the stampede. CNN reports that 108 students were admitted into the hospital, 63 of those have been discharged. Four are set to undergo surgery.

[Image Credit: Wing/Wikimedia Commons]