Death, fire, closure

August 15, 1997

A Kenyan university is facing indefinite closure after a nearby trading centre was burnt down by students angered by the mysterious death of a colleague.

Vice chancellor Japheth Kiptoon shut down Egerton University last week and told the 3,500 students to go home until the culprits were identified. But defiant students have been holding out on campus, although no lectures are being held.

Senate members are also split over the closure.

Tix Ochieng, a student leader, accused Professor Kiptoon of closing the university before police had completed their investigations.

The students had linked the death of a fourth-year student a week before the incident to six local businessmen. The student was found dead in the university swimming pool and it was thought that he had committed suicide. But a post-mortem showed the student was strangled before being thrown into the pool.

Two weeks ago, the six traders complained to Professor Kiptoon about repeated harassment by students from the campus and threatened to take action if it did not stop.

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