KENYA

KENYA: University closed indefinitely after violent protest

Moi University's main campus in Eldoret in western Kenya remains closed indefinitely, leaving students uncertain of their academic calendar. The closure follows violent protests which left one student dead, several others injured and another eight facing robbery charges.

The violence erupted after students boycotted classes for two days to demonstrate against hiked fares by Public Service Vehicles (PSV), popularly known as 'matatu' operators.

A third- year student lost his life when a PSV, students had hijacked to take them back to campus during the demonstrations,, overturned. Eight students who were in the vehicle with him were released on bail after appearing in court on robbery charges.

The University Management Board subsequently held a meeting with student leaders in an attempt to pave the way for negotiations with transport operators.

But, nothing was resolved and the students then held an illegal gathering at the students' centre where they threatened to burn the library and administration building, according to Acting Vice-chancellor Professor BEL Wishitemi.

"To avert further loss of lives and property, and after considering student threats, the university senate has decided to close the campus," Wishitemi said.

He added that the senate had already put in place a process aimed at "attaining normalcy of academic programmes" and the campus would re-open as soon as this was completed.

The university's 10 other campuses remain open, with students preparing for their end of semester examinations in November.