Students riot over missing colleague

University of Nairobi students on Wednesday took to the streets to protest against “the institution’s laxity” in addressing the mysterious disappearance of an engineering student.

Mr Peter Kamau Gikonyo, a fifth year student, was last seen on March 18 heading to the institution’s library carrying books and a laptop.

The students claimed his disappearance had not been treated with the seriousness it deserved and that the institution had failed to deal appropriately with cases of missing students in the past.

One of the students, who declined to be named, said they could not trust the institution to offer them adequate security.

“Are we safe? Students have been disappearing here. Such issues are articulated to the deputy vice-chancellor in charge of students’ affairs but nothing has been done,” he complained.

Peter’s colleagues claimed he did not return to his room from the library. They assumed he had gone to visit his uncle in Banana, near Limuru, and would be back after the weekend.

“After we did not see him for about three days, we reported the matter to the police since we couldn’t get him on phone,” said one of the students.

Peter’s father, Henry Gikonyo, who came to the city from Mpeketoni, Lamu, said that efforts to find his son had been fruitless.

“I appeal to the police to find my son and try to protect other students from such an occurrence. Peter is my first born son,” said Mr Gikonyo.

He recalled the last time he communicated with his son this month, saying he was to pay his school fees so as to complete his final year.

Nairobi Provincial Police Officer Anthony Kibuchi and UoN Electrical Engineering Department chairman Vitalis Oduol tried to restore sanity but were heckled by angry students who demanded that Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere be called to address them.

The students blocked University Way and part of Uhuru Highway for about three hours, leading to heavy traffic in the city. This forced police officers to disperse them using tear gas.

Another UoN student, 30-year-old Denis Oluoch Odago inexplicably went missing on the night of January 19 and was later found dead at the Kenyatta National Hospital. He was a first year Master of Science student.

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