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Kenya closes medical college in border region over security fears

April 25,2015

GARISSA, Kenya -Kenyan authorities on Saturday shut down a medical college in northeast region over security concerns.

Principal of Garissa Medical Training College (GMTC) Omar Osman said they reached the decision to close the institution offering nursing courses to over 250 students after the local administrators said the government has no security personnel to deploy to the training college.

“Following the terror incident that has occurred at Garissa University College, the institution has formerly requested the local county commissioner to provide armed security to ensure our children are safe from marauding terror gangs, however, we were told the government has no such arrangements,” Osman said.

The closure comes barely a month after the indefinite closure of Garissa University College in the same town following a terrorist attack that killed 148 people including 142 students and injured over 70 others.

More than 250 students who were pursuing various diploma and certificate courses at the medical institution have been ordered to leave in the next two days.

“As managers of the institution we can’t hold our children at ransom considering the massacre which has happened at another college within Garissa town. This has led us to contact our bosses in Nairobi and reach the decision to close the college indefinitely.”

He said the affected students will be redeployed to other medical colleges in the country to continue with studies.

“It is unfortunate that a second college that has been serving an entire marginalized region has to be closed simply because the government can’t provide security to its children. How will move perceived by our enemies,” He said while biding the students in an emotional farewell.

Osman said the students’ morale has been greatly affected as they were uncomfortable to relocate from Garissa to new colleges, where they have adapted to the local environment, academic and the non- academic staffs.

“There were some students who were coming from as far as Moyale and Mandera counties and here again they are supposed to move to a new environment and far-flung areas to continue with their studies. What will be in the minds of these students,” he said.

Despite the closure of the college, the principal said, the academic and no-academic staffs will remain in the institution as they wait for a new directives either requiring them as well to be transferred or otherwise.

Nurdin Maalim Mohamed, second year student from Takaba who is now required to trek to Kipenguria described the incident as admission by the government that they have surrendered to the intimidation of the Somali based terrorist group.

“It is now clear to us that, our country can no longer protect us within our region. And we wonder whether closing of public and private institutions in the region can address the serious threats posed by Al-Shabaab,” Mohamed said.



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