Kenya police clash with students; campus closed
July 9, 1997
Web posted at: 2:12 p.m. EDT (1812 GMT)
NAIROBI, Kenya (CNN) -- The University of Nairobi was closed
Wednesday as riot police stormed classrooms and dormitories
and clubbed students who have demanded political reforms
before elections later this year.
Armed with automatic rifles, police interrupted final exams,
broke down doors on student dormitories and dragged some
students off the school's main campus, beating them with
clubs and injuring scores.
Third-year arts student F.W. Kinyanjui -- struck on the back
of the head, his unconscious body left twitching on the
ground -- was later admitted to a hospital in a coma.
Some of the school's 15,000 students responded to the
crackdown by throwing stones at police and setting shops
ablaze. Others fled to dormitories to pack and leave. As
they did, many had to run a gauntlet of club-wielding
Clashes were also reported on Wednesday at the university's
two suburban campuses.
The students at the main campus had planned to march downtown
to a mortuary where they said some of their colleagues lay
dead, shot by police trying to stop rallies two days ago.
Political reforms sought
At least eight people were killed Monday in clashes at
rallies in Nairobi and several other cities in Kenya's worst
political violence since 1991, when similar protests led
President Daniel arap Moi to end single-party rule.
The reformists want to change laws they say favor Moi and his
ruling party, Kenya African National Union. Moi has been
president for 19 years.
Before elections that must take place by year's end, the
reformists want the government to change laws allowing the
president to bar rallies, censor the media, detain people
without trial and control freedom of association.
Moi, 73, is still widely expected to win another five-year
term because of squabbling among opposition leaders. No date
has been set for the presidential and parliamentary
Students also upset over expulsion legislation
Students are also upset about legislation under which
students who fail to pay fees can be expelled.
"University students have got a very real grievance," said
opposition politician Paul Muite.
"They come from very poor families and the reason their
parents are poor is because of the destruction of the
economy of this nation through corruption and incompetence
by the current government."
Student Charles Sangura called the measure, "a deliberate
move to quell the pro-reform movement. They are simply trying
to silence us," he said.
Nairobi Bureau Chief Catherine Bond andReuters contributed to this report.
Related sites:Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.
© 1997 Cable News Network, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.