Kenyan University terrorism drill sparks fatal stampede

December 1, 2015, 6:13am

An ambulance is parked outside Strathmore University on Nov. 30, 2015. Photo: John Muchucha-AFP/Getty Images  

By Tom Odula, AP on TIME  

(NAIROBI, Kenya) — A drill to test terrorism preparedness at a leading Kenyan university led to a stampede in which one person died and 20 others were injured, the institution said Monday.

Strathmore University said in a statement that one staff member had died as a result of injuries received during the drill aimed at testing the preparedness of the university community and emergency response team in the event of an attack.

Some students told local radio station Capital FM that loud bangs and people pretending to be extremist attackers caused panic at the university, causing everyone to flee to the exits. Memories of the April 2 attack by four gunmen from Somali extremist group al-Shabab that killed 147 people are still fresh with many Kenyans, especially university students.

Previously, one student died and 141 others were injured after students of a Nairobi university stampeded after they mistook a loud blast caused by an electrical fault for a terrorist attack.

In October some students of Moi university vacated the school accommodation on campus grounds fearing an attack after the administration revealed that two students who were missing may have joined al-Shabab.

Kenya has experienced a wave of bomb and grenade attacks since it sent its troops to Somalia to fight al-Shabab in October 2011.

Al-Shabab has vowed retribution on Kenya for its troop presence in Somalia. Kenyan troops are now part of African Union troops bolstering Somalia’s weak government against al-Shabab’s insurgency.