Journalist survives accident while covering varsity’s reopening
By EVELYNE MUSAMBI and ABDIMALIK HAJIR
NTV’s Lolani Kalu on Sunday survived a road accident along Garissa road while on his way to cover the reopening of the Garissa University College.
The accident occurred near Mwingi town when a bus crashed with a saloon car and a lorry leaving dozens injured. At the time of the accident, Kalu was in the company of his colleagues, among them Yasin Juma,
“Alhamdulillah I together with Journalist Lolani Kalu and Northern Advocacy Org. Alibash Mohamed and Mohamed Dakane survived this terrible accident on our way to Garissa for the reopening of the Garissa University which was closed after the mass killing of students by Alshabab,” Mr Juma wrote on his Facebook page.
Garissa University College reopened on Monday, nine months after it was closed following a terrorist attack, that led to the deaths of 148 people, most of them students.
During a low-key ceremony at the institution, the college principal, Prof Ahmed Osman Warfa, said most of the staff had reported back to work.
The campus, a constituent college of the Eldoret-based Moi University, was the scene of a 10-hour siege when Al Shabaab gunmen stormed it in the early hours of April 2, 2015.
A police post has since been set up within the campus and Prof Warfa said the government would spend Sh230 million to erect a permanent perimeter fence with a closed-circuit TV monitoring unit in the coming months.
“Some 60 students who could not be redeployed to other campuses will begin classes on January 11, while new students are expected to report to class in the September 2016 intake,” Prof Warfa said.
Prof Warfa added that the reopening of the institution was a private victory for both the university senate and the Garissa community.
He said even though the grounds and corridors of the institution still remind him of the fateful day, he would fight the ghosts of terrorism better once the place once again bustles with academic activity.
“I wish I was armed when the attackers struck,” said Prof Warfa. “I would have defended my students from them. It pains me that we lost such a huge number of people, and I wish there was something we could have done differently.”
As the re-opening ceremony went on Monday, there was a heavy presence of security personnel at strategic places within the institution. At the main gate, all guests were frisked before being allowed in, while police officers patrolled the grounds.
Last month, Deputy President William Ruto, while on a tour of Garissa, said plans were underway to reopen the institution, which is seen as an important academic centre in a region with few centres of higher learning.