Thursday, January 10, 2008

Adventist University in Kenya Evacuated

Source: Adventist News Network - (1/3/08) (1/7/08)

Church leaders evacuated 286 students, staff and international workers from Seventh-day Adventist-owned University of Eastern Africa, Baraton (UEAB) to Nairobi on January 6.

Earlier, church leaders in Kenya reported that about 200 students, staff and faculty at the UEAB are taking refuge at a nearby police station after officers escorted them on December 31 from the campus, which was surrounded by a mob.

Pr. Ceaser Wamalika, who is a chaplain at the University, shared his eyewitness account of the Decmeber 31st incident on the Ground 7 News podcast. The following is a direct transcript from the podcast:

"Shortly after the Kenyan national elections had been announced and there was a dispute, and the people had been watching it through the television. We heard noises, people shouting in the market nearby, and as we looked we saw crowds of people and they were singing war songs in their local language. And they came, they went round, and they came to the campus, to the gate-- the main entrance to the campus and we could tell that there was some, eh, something going on with the security people at gate."

UEAB, aeriel view

"And then when we moved there they were demanding to storm the University. Their demand was that all the faculty and the staff who belong to the Kikuyu community, where the President comes from, together with the Kamba and the Kisii, who did not vote for the opposition, they wanted them out of the campus.

So we tried to talk to the crowd [-indiscernible-] which was about a thousand people, we tried to talk to them, pleading with them, that this [is] a Christian institution. They could not listen. So, lucky enough and maybe to God's providence, a police vehicle came and two police men came out-- they were armed and they came, talked to the crowd. They took about an hour, talking to them, and the crowd became a bit calm because they were having their machetes, their clubs ready for war.

And then the police called us aside and said, 'The only way you save this university from being stormed is by releasing these people. Take them out, let us escort them for their safety to the police station.' So we informed our faculty who come from those ethnic groups and the students. We gave them about half minutes to pack up and they leave. And we put them in our University vehicles, three of them, and the police escorted..."

→ You can hear the podcast in its entirety here.

According to the UEAB website, the university is planning on reopening this Monday, January 14th.

Screenshot of the UEAB website notifying students and faculty about the university's reopening

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Kenya is providing emergency food assistance and medical supplies for displaced and affected families in coordination with other humanitarian agencies in the country.

In a January 3 statement, Adventist world church Executive Secretary Matthew A. Bediako appealed to the people Kenya "to come together and find ways to promote reconciliation." The video was aired on the Hope Channel.

There are more than 560,000 Adventists worshiping in some 3,500 congregations in Kenya.

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