Education International
Education International

Kenya: Education community in mourning after attack on university

published 2 April 2015 updated 3 April 2015

Educators in Kenya have expressed their deepest sympathy to families and friends of over 140 students killed by Islamist gunmen in the town of Garissa in north-eastern Kenya today.

Terrorists burst into Garissa University College in the early morning, shooting students and taking hostages in an attack that left at least 147 dead and 79 injured, according to Kenyan officials.

EI affiliates in the country have expressed their shock at the atrocities and called on authorities to undertake all possible measures to secure education institutions. Albert Njeru, Secretary General of the Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions, Hospitals and Allied Workers (KUDHEIHA), wrote in an email that he hoped the international community would join the Kenyan government to root out terror in the country.

Wilson Sossion, National Chairman of the Kenyan Union of Teachers (KNUT) and Chairperson of Education International’s African Regional Committee, said on Twitter: “The pain is unbearable. My prayers and love go to the victims and families. Schools should be safe havens for our children!”

EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen echoed a statement made by UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown, who had said that the “militant group al-Shabab, who have shot and taken hostage students in Kenya today, must be sent a message that attacks on schools, colleges and universities are a crimes against humanity and that educational establishments are designed as safe havens.” Van Leeuwen highlighted: “We are working closely with the UN Special Envoy and the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack to ensure that governments undertake all necessary measures to prevent such brutality in future. The thoughts of educators all over the world are with their colleagues and their students in Kenya today.”

The EI Declaration “Schools shall be safe sanctuaries” is available here: http://download.ei-ie.org/Docs/WebDepot/2009_leaflet_Schools-As-Safe-Sanctuaries_en.pdf