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Kenya: government closes University of Nairobi over students unrest

NAIROBI – The University of Nairobi has closed following a series of violent clashes between the administration, students and police.

The closure follows the institution’s vice chancellor’s decision to call anti-riot police to the campus on Thursday, when students were demonstrating for the release of an imprisoned opposition politician.

“Students have been asked to vacate the halls of residence with immediate effect but not later than 9.00am”, read a tweet from the institution.

Students have been engaging in demos since Thursday last week, protesting the arrest of Babu Owino and police brutality on students.

The Independent Police Oversight Authority has launched investigations as videos continue to trend online, showing police throwing teargas canisters into students’ hostels despite them not being involved in the protests.

The fire engine crew demanded to get armed escort to access the site in vain. Police sought out University of Nairobi students in their hostels, classrooms and libraries in the name of flushing out protesters. They chanted, “Mbithi must go!” They were demanding the removal or resignation of Vice Chancellor Prof Peter Mbithi saying he is was the one who allowed and invited the police to invade the institution classes and halls to assault and steal from them. “Mbithi must go!” with most unrest happening on the main campus.

On the same day, social media was abuzz with news that a student from the institution had succumbed to injuries after thorough clobbering from the police.

The incident is being investigated. The closure came ahead of more planned students’ protests after demonstrations last week against the arrest of a popular member of parliament and student union leader, Babu Owino, for allegedly calling President Uhuru Kenyatta a “son of a dog”. Anti-riot police were put on standby.

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