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Universities launch anti-terror studies as attacks rise

06 May 2015, 09:35

Nairobi - Universities in Kenya have launched anti-terrorism courses for students joining them from September in efforts to curb terror attacks targeting the learning institutions.

The courses, according to officials in-charge of academic affairs, will be compulsory and examined alongside other common units.

The launch of the anti-terror courses comes barely a month after Garissa University College was attacked by Al-Shabaab terrorists killing 142 students and six security officers.

There have been reports of terror threats in colleges and other institutions of higher learning.

According to the institutions, the courses will help students prepare adequately for disaster and terror attacks as terrorists have shifted their targets to learning institutions.

Professor Maurice Amutabi, the Deputy Vice Chancellor in-charge of Academic Affairs at the Kisii University, said on Tuesday that their course is all about security preparedness course, with specific focus on terror threat, physical and cyber threats, crime detection, crime monitoring, early warning and security information sharing and networking.

"Its curriculum is being designed and we hope to launch it this year September when first year students are reporting," Amutabi said during the launch of the course in Kakamega County.

He added the course will be taught by lecturers from the security and intelligence firms, who have vast experience and knowledge in the field.

Professor Dominic Makawiti, the vice-chancellor of Maseno University said that they are going to partner with security and intelligence firms to offer anti-terrorism training to students and staff.

"Security is all about gathering intelligence from various points and being able to kick out any sign in advance. This is what we want to do because we cannot continue risking the lives of our staff and students. They need the skills to equip themselves," Makawiti told university students at the Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology.

The university's Coordinator Disaster Information and Response Unit at the institution, Dr Veronica Kiluva said that insecurity and terrorism cases are becoming more rampant in the country and there is need for the university to train its students and staff on how to handle the same.

"The objective of the course is to create awareness and be alert in case of terror. Another objective of the course is to get rid of any potential radicalisation given that university students are also target group for Al-Shabbab extremists," she said.

One of the terrorists who attacked students at Garissa University is Abdirahim Abdullahi, an upcoming lawyer, who studied at University of Nairobi, a top institution in Kenya.

And in a case that shows institutions of higher learning are under threat of terror attack in Kenya, a week ago, Migori Teachers Training College in western region was closed indefinitely after two men suspected to be members of the Al- Shabaab were found in the institution.

The Principal Mary Claire Indire alerted the police after two young men who could not speak Kiswahili nor English gained access to the school compound.

He said the two suspects could not be traced immediately and the police were alerted that strangers had gone into the institution.

Police are yet to arrest the two suspects to date as learners remain at home pondering over the threat.

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- Xinhua

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