Reopen Garissa University, Kenyans say


Garissa University reopens nine months after deadliest terror attack

Peace activists in Kenya are calling for the reopening of the Garissa University college where 148 people were killed by gunmen from the Somalia-based al-Shabab group.

The April attack led to the closure of Garissa University College, which has had an impact on the local economy, the activists say.

Some students are also complaining that they are missing out on their education since the college was shut.

The activists have organised a four-day arts and culture festival in the north-eastern town of Garissa to challenge the perception that the place is no longer safe.

“We believe that you cannot fight terrorism with the gun, that will never succeed,” said Lolani Kalu, the man behind the festival.

He said that 200 people had attended the opening of the event and sang the national anthem in several Kenyan languages in a sign of unity.

There was a candle lighting ceremony to remember the victims and also the start of a project to plant 148 trees.

According to Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi, the Garissa University College will not be re-opened any time soon after it was closed following the terror attack in April.

Kaimenyi had said  stakeholders from the college are yet to consult on whether to reopen it or not.

Kaimenyi told the parliamentary committee on education that many people are still traumatised after the siege hence it would not be wise to reopen it now.

On April 2nd, 2015, gunmen stormed the Garissa University College in Garissa, Kenya killing 148 people and injuring 79 others.

Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack which ended the same day when all four of the attackers were killed.

Five men were later arrested in connection to the attack and a bounty was placed on the head of the attack’s alleged organizer.

The five were charged with carrying out terrorism-related activities and have been detained for one month pending investigations.

The attack was the deadliest in Kenya since the 1998 United States Embassy bombings, and is the second deadliest overall, with more casualties than the 2002 Mombasa attacks, the 2013 Westgate shopping mall attack, the 2014 Nairobi bus bombings, the 2014 Gikomba bombings, the 2014 Mpeketoni attacks and the 2014 Lamu attacks.

 Additional information from BBC News.

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Maureen Murimi
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