A fire has burnt down sections of Maseno University’s administration block, destroying cash records and staff data.
The fire, whose cause is under investigation by the police, started at around 2am on Thursday.
It burnt down the central registry, a store, the finance office and the office of the director of student affairs.
The offices of the deputy vice-chancellor for research and the deputy vice-chancellor in charge of administration and finance were partially destroyed.
The incident disrupted learning at the main campus in Maseno Township for much of Thursday morning.
Students who spoke to the Nation at the scene Thursday said unknown people wearing masks had stormed their hostels early Thursday morning asking them to participate in a strike.
Mr Phelix Juma, a student, told journalists that the masked people knocked on their doors commanding them to come out in solidarity with them.
“They were shouting, ‘Comrades power!’ Shortly thereafter, we heard gunshots from the tear gas that was lobbed to disperse them. By that time, the administration block was already on fire,” Mr Juma said.
Another student, Ms Lilian Anyika, said stones were hurled at their hostel, located a few metres from an office that was burnt down.
“We did not know the people who were knocking (on) our doors. And out of fear because of recent attacks in universities, we did not come out,” said Ms Anyika.
Prof Joseph Chacha, the deputy vice-chancellor for research, said security guards on duty at the time reported that they saw some students throw objects at the administration offices before the fire started.
“The cause of the fire has not been established yet. The police and the university are going on with the investigations to establish its cause. This will be communicated immediately it is established,” Prof Chacha said.
“If it is established that anybody is responsible for this, appropriate legal action will be taken against such a person,” the university boss said in a statement to the media.
He said files containing staff and financial information were destroyed.
“Students’ academic records are intact as they are kept in the office of (the) Registrar (of) Academic and Students Affairs which was not affected by the fire.
“The university management has asked for calm among the students, staff and all other stakeholders as the concerned authorities carry out investigations,” Prof Chacha said.
University officials also dismissed allegations that the fire was connected to students’ union elections.
Kisumu County Police Commandeer Nelson Njiri said the cause of the fire was under investigation.
via Daily Nation