One woman is dead and at least 31 others have been hospitalised following a security exercise at Strathmore University in Nairobi.
Following the incident, Strathmore University have confirmed that staff member Esther Kidemba died from severe head injuries, after panic spread when security officials fired gunshots as part of the drill at midday yesterday (Monday 30 November).
— Puff ™ (@onlyaterics) November 30, 2015
Most of the injuries were caused by people jumping from windows, a medical source told AFP news agency.
Some students claims they had not been given advance notice of the security exercise, but this was disputed after screen grabs of a Facebook post surfaced on social media.
— John Telewa (@thekissbandit) November 30, 2015
“We were not informed… we just heard gunshots and had to run for our dear lives.”
– Unnamed student speaking to Capital FM news
AN official statement from Strathmore University claimed that the drill had been carried out to test “the preparedness of the university community and emergency team in the event of an attack”.
It added that teams of students and staff had been trained in “evacuation, assembly points and exit points”.
Just before news broke of Ms Kidemba’s death, the university said, “Unfortunately some students and staff panicked and got injured”.
Strathmore Uni students teetering on the edge about to take a leap. it was all a drill. pic.twitter.com/O5bcmPEaHK
— James Smart (@jamessmat) November 30, 2015
Many Kenyans have condemned the university on social media over the apparent mishandling of the exercise and for putting the lives of students and staff at risk.
The university has said it will cover the medical costs of those injured as a result of the exercise.
According to Reuters news agency, Nairobi police chief Japheth Koome said all the proper procedures were followed for the exercise.
Back in April, following the killing of at least 148 people at Garissa University by Islamist militant group al-Shabaab, the Kenyan government instructed the country’s higher education institutions to provide training to teach students how to respond in the event of a terror attack.