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Terror drill sparks deadly panic in Nairobi

Police officers fired guns and set off explosives at a Kenyan university while wearing white robes, prompting students to flee in fear. Several people suffered broken limbs after jumping through the windows.

At least one person died and 37 people were injured after students and staff mistook a police-run security drill for a terror attack, Strathmore University said on Monday.

A 33-year-old female employee "has died from severe head injuries," the university's communications director Betty Ngala said.

Another two people were "in critical condition" according to Dr Evans Mwendwa at Nairobi West Hospital.

Most of the victims were injured by "jumping from high floors" after hearing the gunfire, university officials said.

Fears of Islamist terror

The security forces at the scene simulated the attack by firing in the air and detonating explosive charges. The officers reportedly wore white robes and face veils.

Many students claim they were not informed of the security drill.

Kenyan universities are still reeling from the massacre at Garissa University in April, when

al-Shabab Islamists killed 148 students

and staff. A similar attack on Nairobi's Westgate mall claimed 67 lives.

"After what we saw in Garissa and Westgate I couldn't waste a minute, I jumped down and the next thing, I just realized, I can't move because I broke my leg," an unnamed Strathmore University student told the local Capital FM radio.

"It is very wrong that they didn't tell us," another student, Joseph, was quoted as saying by the radio station.

"After hearing gunshots I had to run out because there were guys who were dressed like al-Shabab, like those people we saw in Westgate and we had to run away," he added.

Drill following 'procedure'

After the incident, the university said the exercise was "aimed at testing the preparedness of the university community and emergency team in the

event of an attack".

"Unfortunately some students and staff panicked," it added.

Nairobi police chief Japheth Koome said all the proper procedures were followed for Monday's drill.

dj/rc (AFP, dpa)

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