Campuses promised police officers to boost anti-terror security

Police officers will be deployed on request to Kenyan universities to boost security and guard against possible future attacks by religious extremists, the government has said.

The state will send officers to any university that makes a request, but institutions will have to pay for the cost of providing adequate and quality stations and accommodation.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery told vice-chancellors mainly drawn from public universities: “We have no problem providing you with as many officers as you need but the numbers we will allocate will depend on student population and our assessment of your security needs.” The vice-chancellors had called on Nkaissery to discuss security in August.

The minister was quick to add that universities would also have to deploy other security measures, such as using technology to enhance security.

“You will have to invest in additional measures such as installing CCTV cameras, fences and control and management of the number of people accessing your institutions, if you are to help police maintain security,” he stressed.

The officers will complement unarmed private security guards hired by universities to maintain order on campus.

Security upped post-Garissa

The vice-chancellors’ concerns come five months after the attack on Garissa University College by Islamist extremists, in which 148 students died and scores were injured.

The Garissa campus in northeast Kenya was closed indefinitely and the more than 800 surviving students have been successfully relocated to other campuses run by Moi University, to which the Garissa college was affiliated.

Since the attack, universities have upped security measures, hiring more guards and frisking people accessing campuses as well as erecting gates and perimeter walls.

Some have already installed closed circuit surveillance cameras, while others like Kenyatta University in Nairobi have acquired sniffer dogs to detect trouble.

The attack left university communities in a state of fright.

Small incidents such as tyre bursts can cause pandemonium and at times result in deaths and injuries, as happened at the University of Nairobi in June, when an electric cable explosion caused a panic that left a student dead and many others injured.