, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 1 – A sombre mood had engulfed the usually quiet university campus, which is renowned for its discipline and academic excellence.
Strathmore University has over the years expanded from a smaller old building now referred as the old Strathmore to the new Strathmore which has more space.
The two compounds are divided by a road.
It is at the new campus grounds where the now-controversial security drill was conducted on Monday afternoon.
When we visited the university on Tuesday, a portrait of Esther Vusha Kidambi who died in the drill welcomed us to the campus.
Born on November 1, 1982, Kidambi died the last day of November – just a month after celebrating her 33rd birthday.
It was the most excruciating occurrence that will forever remain in the minds of the students and staff who met the joyful lady who worked as a caterer at the university’s canteen.
Esther was among a number of students who jumped out of buildings in panic upon hearing gunshots.
To most of them, the drill was a real attack which brought alive the memories of the Garissa University attack that left 148 people dead.
At Nairobi West Hospital which is the nearest hospital to the university, 16 students and staff members were still admitted, two of them in critical condition.
Dr Deepak Kumar, Head of the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital, told us that one of the students had suffered amnesia and also developed lung complications following Tuesday’s incident.
“One of the patients has suffered trauma to the lungs. There was an air leak out of the lungs it is called the pneumothorax. He was in severe pain and he also had transient amnesia which means he had forgotten the sequence of events; he cannot recall what happened,” Dr. Kumar explained.
The second student in the ICU suffered more serious injuries which Dr Kumar said would affect his movements.
“He sustained injuries to the spinal cord. He has lost power for both lower limbs, we managed to screen the spine and we found out that one of the vertebrae had burst, he requires surgical interventions to stabilise the spine,” he said.
In one of the wards, two female students who had bandages wrapped around their hands and legs lay on their beds silently.