250 students report to the Garissa college
We already have 500 on campus and we are expecting more, says principal Warfa
The first government-sponsored students started reporting on Tuesday to the Garissa University College under tight security. The institution was closed indefinitely last year after the April 2 al Shabaab attack that claimed 148 lives, most of them students.
The Education ministry and the Moi University senate met on December 9 and agreed to re-open the college. It was officially opened in January but only admitted privately sponsored students.
Addressing the press in his office, principal Prof Ahmed Warfa said 250 out of 470 government-sponsored students had reported. “We already have 500 students on campus and we are expecting more in the near future. Some of them come with their parents, who spend the night in the hostels. They are very happy with the security measures put in place,” he said.
SECURITY WALL COMING UP
Warfa said a police post has been built on the campus and is manned 24-7. He said work on a Sh200 million security wall will start in two weeks. The college also received a Sh2 million biometric security system that captures the fingerprints and details of all those who enter the institution.
Students interviewed expressed satisfaction with the security arrangement. Samuel Gitau, a first-year student pursuing a bachelor in commerce, said his family was reluctant to let him travel to Garissa. He comes from Kitale town.
“They only allowed me to board the bus after I convinced them. It is my hope and prayer that such a thing [attack] will never happen again in our country. I’m looking forward to leaving this institution with my degree in four years,” he said.
Dennis Mutuma, a first-year economics student from Machakos county, said one can meet death anywhere and it is God who protects mankind.
But others who spoke on condition of anonymity said they only agreed to join the college because they are sponsored by the government. “I feared I might lose the chance if I didn’t come. But given the option I would not have come here. That is the fact,” one student said.
Warfa thanked all those who supported the college. “We want to thank the government, the media, the leaders, parents and all the others who helped us move through the difficult period. As an institution, we would not have managed to overcome this on our own,” he said.
Shamsa Abdi Bare, a thirdyear student at the Garissa University College, studies privately in a lecture hall as students return to the campus in Garissa, January 11