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Ex-Garissa University students snub classes over lost belongings

More than 500 Garissa University College students moved to Moi University refused to begin lessons and counseling on Tuesday as they demanded to be given their belongings that remained  behind in their former institution.

And when they were allowed access to their belongings, which had been trucked to their new university, many of the students complained that their cash, valuables and other items were missing.

The truckloads of suitcases and other personal effects collected from the Garissa institution, which was shut down after last month’s terrorist attack, arrived at Moi University’s main campus in Kesses on May 11.

The university’s management on Tuesday postponed classes as it gave in to the students’ demands.

Most of them complained that some of their valuables, including cash and electronics, were missing.

Moi University Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of student affairs, Prof Nathan Ogechi, said classes and the scheduled counseling sessions could not go on as the students wanted to identify and secure their belongings first.

TRAUMATIZED

“We have about 275 students and half the number of staff members who are traumatized and need counseling.

“After the students pick their belongings, the counseling sessions will start immediately so that the students are ready to resume classes,” Prof Ogechi said.

Mrs Mary Mahugo, the chief students’ counselor at the university, said the counseling sessions would take up to eight weeks, with the students grouped in tens.

“We understand that our students are traumatized and it is our mandate as counselors to ensure they get back to their senses,” she said.

“We also need to identify those who need more counseling, something that will make our work easier.”

Garissa University College was shut down by the government after the April 2 terror attack in which 148 people were killed, mostly students. The survivors were evacuated and they left their belongings behind.