, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 15 – The University of Nairobi was closed indefinitely late Sunday following day-long violent riots which were sparked by the alleged killing of a student by police.
Students were ordered to leave the university immediately, following the closure announced by the Senate after a special meeting.
The Senate meeting was prompted by chaos witnessed at the campus for the better part of Sunday when the students first marched to Central police station, where they demanded to be addressed by the divisional commander.
They wanted to be told circumstances that led to the death of their colleague, before they took to the streets.
“We want to know what happened, because we know live bullets were used on innocent students who have a right to hold a demonstration,” Students of Nairobi University Organization (SONU) Chairman Zack Kinuthia who led the protests said.
The group of students later engaged anti-riot police in running battles on University Way round about, where they hurled stones and other objects at motorists.
Chaos at the university started on Saturday night, when the students took to the streets, to protest a suicide incident, involving a student who was being detained, at the Central police station cells.
The Engineering student who committed suicide, is reported to have been arrested after he allegedly tried to break into a room in the campus where evidence of his alleged cheating in an examination was kept.
It is during protests over the suicide incident, when another student was allegedly shot dead by police on State House road.
“The police are using live bullets and killing our students, we have now lost one student who was shot last night and succumbed to death as we took him to Nairobi hospital, two others have been injured and are nursing wounds in hospital, we have already lost four students to the police and this is unacceptable,” he said. “The Saturday night protest was peaceful, we don’t know why police decided to use live bullets.”
There was no immediate statement from the police on the circumstances under which the Saturday night shooting occurred.
“We are demanding the truth of the matter, we are demanded an autopsy be done to find out exactly what caused the death,” Kinuthia said.
Nairobi police chief, Benson Kibue told Capital FM News that they are doing everything possible to restore the situation at the university, which has led to the closure of roads around the university.
“We are appealing to them to go back to campus because an investigation on both incidents is underway,” he said.
At a press conference later Sunday, Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo advised parents of the student who reportedly committed suicide at the Central police station cell to lodge a formal complaint to enable authorities set up an inquiry to probe the matter.
“It is protocol that when such an incident occurs a post-mortem is conducted and an inquiry opened,” he said.
“I am also a University of Nairobi student. The two students who died were also my comrades but that is not reason to uproot the expensive and new traffic lights outside Luther Plaza. Everything cannot be won through war,” he advised.
He also pleaded for patience as detectives finalise an investigation on the shooting of a student during Saturday night demonstrations.
“The accused officer will face the law and must explain to Kenyans and the world in what circumstances an unarmed student ended up dead,” he said.