Garissa university attack: Victims move to court to seek compensation

By , K24 Digital
On Sat, 9 Jul, 2022 08:15 | 3 mins read
Garissa attack victims issue demands.
Al Shabaab militants. PHOTO/Courtesy

Over 14 former Garissa University students who survived the April 2015 terror attack have now filed a case in court seeking compensation.

Through lawyer John Khaminwa, the students seek compensation for the failure of the State and university to neglect to take adequate measures to prevent them from Al Shabaab militants.

“The State ignored several intelligence on impending terrorist attacks, targeting learning institutions within Garissa Town,” they argued.

On April 2, 2015, gunmen stormed the college in Garissa, killing 148 people and injuring 79 others.

They claim they suffered multiple injuries as a result of the attack due to the inability of the state's security agents to first detect the threat and subsequent failure to respond in time when the attack occurred.

"Petitioners have as a result of the Respondents'(government) actions mostly suffered deep cut wounds and ugly scars as a result of bullets, grenade attacks and subsequent surgeries, Spinal injuries, fractures, Incontinence of stool and urine, partial or total loss of hearing, Loss of limbs and mobility Mental health problems including traumatic stress, loss of sleep, depression, etc," reads the court papers.

The lawyer says that following the injuries the students sustained during the attack most of them became disabled and were unable to continue with their education while others are not employed.

Garissa University
Garissa University PHOTO/Courtesy

The students led by Rachel Munjiru Gikonyo and Ben Mwiti Kaberia also accuse the government of failing to deploy sufficient numbers of security officers despite a request by the Principal of Garissa University and the level of threat of an attack.

"Failing to observe professionalism through poor coordination of the rescue leading to delay in the rescue of the petitioners. Deploying officers who lacked the capacity to prevent or mitigate the situation," the students added.

Garissa students issue new demands

They now want the court to declare that the State abdicated its responsibility to prevent and combat terrorism as well as protect its citizens during the attack.

Further, they argue that the government also failed to adequately prevent the attack and rescue them in time, leading to the loss of lives of their colleagues and their injuries.

They cite several other attacks within the North-Eastern region, and travel warnings of imminent terrorist attacks allegedly issued by the US, German, Australia and British governments before the Al-Shabaab siege on Garissa University College as well as the Westgate one which occurred on September 21, 2013, which left 71 people dead.

The students in affidavits filed in court state that the gunmen associated with the Islamist militant group stormed the university in the morning hours of April 2015 as some were asleep and others preparing to go for morning prayers.

Garissa university students recall fateful day

On his part, Mwiti who was a first-year student pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Education (Science) at the university recalls how the Alshabaab militants stormed into Garissa University at about 5:00 am on the material date.

"On the day of the attack, I woke up at 5:29 am and proceeded to the class about 50 metres from the dormitory where the Christian Union was having morning devotion, upon arrival to the class, I found about 7 strange men at the entrance but I did not suspect that they were the attackers waiting for Christians to gather and kill them," Mwiti said in his affidavit.

" I got into the classroom and started praying as it was my norm as a committed Christian. But after about 10 minutes I heard a loud sound like a door bang and upon opening my eyes, I realized that it was a grenade and a number of my fellow Christians were lying down injured."

He says he was shot by the attacker several times while he was lying on the floor.

" I sustained various injuries including both my right and left thighs at the back and an injury to the spinal cord," Mwiti added.

The students say that the siege ended nearly 15 hours after the gunmen shot their way into the Garissa-based campus in a pre-dawn attack.

Garissa students give details of moments before incident

Prior to the attack, letters had been dropped along Garissa Road notifying non-Muslim students to vacate the university's premises or face a terrorist attack.

They also claim that there was tension in the institution as a result of the letters that saw student elections postponed prompting the principal to write to the county commissioner seeking enhanced security at the premises.

They have sued the Cabinet Secretaries for Education, Defence and Interior, the Inspector-General of Police, the National Police Service, Garissa University College as well as the Attorney-General.

Related Topics