Strathmore University Terror Drill, A Kenyan university is facing severe criticism after a woman was killed and up to 30 people injured when a safety drill was mistaken for a genuine terrorist attack, causing terrified students to flee and jump out of upper-floor windows.
Strathmore University confirmed in a statement on Monday that a staff member, Esther Kidemba, had died as a result of “severe head injuries” during the exercise. She is reported to have thrown herself out of a third-storey window.
Students told local radio station Capital FM that loud bangs and people pretending to be extremist attackers had caused panic at the university, causing everyone to rush to the exits.
“We were not informed, we were not aware at all,” one student later said from hospital, “we just heard gunshots and had to run for our dear lives.”
“The situation was aimed at testing the preparedness of the university community and emergency team in the event of an attack,” said the official statement, “unfortunately some of the students panicked and got injured.”
On Tuesday morning the university tweeted that the vice chancellor had briefed the Kenyan cabinet on the situation and had ordered a full investigation into “how a drill of that magnitude took place without prerequisite communication”.
The Kenyan police service said institutions should refrain from organising terror drills of their own accord to prevent similar tragedies occurring. “We are on high alert and in case of an attack do not panic, do not kill yourself, we will always be there for you” said inspector Charles Owino Wahong’o in a statement.