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University closed after student unrest

University of Nairobi was on Sunday closed indefinitely following two days of student riots.

Vice Chancellor George Magoha directed all students to leave the University’s premises with immediate effect.

According to the Students Organisation of Nairobi University (Sonu) chairman Zack Kinuthia, the students were protesting the deaths of two of their colleagues at the hands of the police.

Erastus Abok, a mechanical engineering student is alleged to have died while being held at the Central Police Station.

“Police said he had committed suicide using an electric cable, but we want the matter to be thoroughly investigated,” said Mr Kinuthia.

On Saturday night, the riots intensified after another student was shot dead.

Edward Kubai, also an engineering student died after being hit by a bullet students insist was fired by police. Several others suffered serious gunshot wounds.

Business in the western parts of the city centre had been disrupted for the better part of Saturday and Sunday as University of Nairobi students engaged police in running battles.

Motorists were advised to avoid the University Way/Uhuru highway roundabout where the students had pitched camp.

Traffic into town from Waiyaki way was diverted at the Museum Hill roundabout and made to access the Central Business District through Kipande Road.

Tamper with evidence

Those heading to Westlands using Uhuru Highway, including long distance trucks were diverted to Kenyatta Avenue and onwards to the Globe Cinema roundabout from where they used Kipande Road to reach Westlands.

Most businesses near the university remained closed for fear of looting.

The students stoned motorists on Uhuru highway and destroyed the recently installed traffic lights at the University Way/Uhuru Highway roundabout.

The students also protested the move by police to take the bodies to the City Mortuary instead of the university’s Chiromo Mortuary.

“We demand a conclusive post-mortem to ascertain our colleagues’ deaths. Why did they (police) take them to the City mortuary while we have Chiromo? They want to tamper with evidence,” one of the students shouted.

Central OCPD Patrick Oduma who led the operation, however, called on the students to maintain calm as investigations started.