University of Nairobi closes after violent clashes

Kenyan riot police. (AP Photo)
Kenyan riot police. (AP Photo)

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

The top Kenyan university, with more than 84 000 people enrolled, announced that students had until 09:00 on Tuesday to leave their residence hall.

This meant students had less than 12 hours to move out. Many of them refused to leave until they got their fees back.

Students took to social media to complain about the university's closure, fearing for consequences on their studies. 

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.

Police officers clashed with students and dozens were injured, according to local media. 

On Monday there were new rounds of demonstrations, this time for the resignation of the university’s vice chancellor Professor Peter Mbithi. A few hours later his Twitter account announced the closure of the university, one of the oldest in Kenya.

Leaders of the Kenya Universities Student Organisation (KUSO) "condemned the brutality meted out by police" and "demanded swift investigations of the rogue officers". 

"Freedom of speech and peaceful demonstrations are fundamental and irrevocable rights of every citizen," Were Were member of KUSO wrote on Facebook.

More than 84 000 students attend the University of Nairobi and more than 2 000 people work there.

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