Nairobi, May 5 (IANS) 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, Xinhua news agency reported.
The launch of the anti-terror courses comes barely a month after Garissa University College in northeastern Kenya 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.
Maurice Amutabi, the deputy vice-chancellor in charge of academic affairs at the Kisii University, said on Tuesday that their course was all about security preparedness, 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 at Kakamega in western Kenya.
He added the course would be taught by lecturers from the security and intelligence firms, who have vast experience and knowledge in the field.
Dominic Makawiti, the vice-chancellor of Maseno University, said that they were 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 students at the Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology.
Veronica Kiluva, the university’s coordinator for disaster information and response unit, said that insecurity and terrorism cases were becoming more rampant in the country and there was 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 Shabaab 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.
Mary Claire Indire, the principal, alerted police after two young men who could not speak Kiswahili or 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.