Nadhif Jama: College closure 'unfortunate'

What you need to know:

  • The college was due to get a charter later this year.
  • Survivors have vowed not to return.

The Governor of Garissa County has described as "unfortunate" the closure of Garissa University College.

Nadhif Jama, who spoke to journalists on Saturday, said the institution represented a new future for the county.

"That is very unfortunate. We never expected this to happen. We are now going back to the drawing board," he said after bidding farewell to the last batch of students leaving the town for home.

The institution was shut on Friday following a day-long siege by Al-Shabaab gunmen who killed 148 people.

The terror attack was the worst since the August 1998 bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi in which more than 200 people were killed.

The four attackers, the government said, were also killed but emergency workers have claimed the death toll is higher than official figures.

The killers also ended the life of the college student union chairman, Laban Kumba, who had initially raised concerns over insecurity last year when terrorists attacked Mandera killing more than 60 people, in a quarry and on a bus.

Asked what the college did after the concerns were raised, principal Prof Ahmed Osman Warfa declined to comment.

WAS TO GET CHARTER

On Saturday, buses from the National Youth Service left the Kenya Defence Forces camp in Garissa where the survivors had been accommodated for two days.

The college, a branch of Moi University, was started in 2011 and was due to get a charter later this year to make it the first full public university in northeastern Kenya.

The indefinite closure, however could jeopardise this plan, considering students who survived the attack vowed not to return.

The institution had 815 students, most of who came from other parts of the county, as well as locals.

"That is like playing with my life. I will not return here. They will have to transfer me," said Jacob Wafula, a student of Education majoring in History and Kiswahili.

Others said they were sad to leave but it was safer to stay away.

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