NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Maureen Kanini has vivid memories of chaos and
pandemonium that ensued after four heavily armed terrorists
stormed into her university hostel at dawn only to hold innocent
young souls to ransom for hours.
Two years after the
horrific terrorist attack at Garissa University where Kanini
enrolled to pursue a major in Information Sciences, the 22 year
old is still struggling to erase the macabre episode from her
Speaking to Xinhua
in Nairobi on Monday during an event to mark the 2nd
anniversary of Garissa University terrorist attack, Kanini
confessed her struggles to overcome memories of a dawn where
tranquility gave way to blood and tears.
“The memories of
losing close friends during the terrorist attack lingers in me
though I am beginning to erase them gradually thanks to
intensive therapy sessions,” said Kanini.
On the tragic dawn
of April 2, 2015, Kanini and her housemates were preparing for a
hectic day of lectures and games when suddenly gunshots and
wailing rent the air.
“At first we thought
it was a robbery incident in the neighborhood but when the
gunshots escalated, it became clear we were under siege and the
plausible thing to do was to dash outside and hide in the
thickets,” Kanini said.
She was among lucky
survivors of a tragedy that claimed the lives of 142 students
and six security officers.
energy and optimism suffered a huge blow when Al-Shabaab
terrorists killed and maimed her friends and acquaintances at
Garissa University but she is gradually finding her voice.
“I am hoping the
painful chapter will eventually disappear from our psyche. There
is hope for a new beginning defined by hope and optimism,” said
Kanini adding that her determination to succeed in her studies
has been invigorated.
University terrorist attack elicited worldwide condemnation
owing to the intensity of its savagery.
The mainly young,
versatile and ambitious victims could have lived to see the dawn
of a prosperous Kenya had the terrorists spared them the bullet.
Lucky survivors like
Geoffrey Ouma have vowed to become champions of peace, love and
unity in the community having witnessed the tragic outcomes of
hate and intolerance.
The 25 year old
business administration major escaped the terrorists’ rifle by a
whisker and has also struggled to overcome the painful memory of
losing close friends and housemates.
slaughter of innocent colleagues as they prepared for morning
classes has been a tormenting experience but am hoping time will
heal the wounds inflicted on our conscience,” said Ouma.
He defied immense
pressure and returned to Garissa University to complete his
undergraduate studies after it reopened last year.
“Everyone cursed and
vowed never to return to Garissa University after the terrorist
attack. Even my own relatives and friends dissuaded me from
rejoining a university associated with death and destruction,”
counseling, Ouma has gradually erased the painful memories of
Garissa university terror attack and is currently a decorated
ambassador of peace and cohesion in an institution that was
“I took up the
initiative to promote peaceful coexistence among different
ethnic and religious groups in our university. There is a
profound rejection of ideologies that espouse senseless killing
of innocent people in the entire campus,” said Ouma.
Since its reopening
early last year, Garissa University has managed to admit close
to 600 students from different parts of Kenya.
Eric Onyango, a 24
year old business major also summoned courage and determination
to resume studies in the university.
“Luckily I managed
to evade the killers during that dawn of unspeakable terror and
mayhem in our university. The painful memories are not as raw as
they used to be and I look forward to reclaim the lost dreams,”
He is happy to
reunite with college mates whose dreams and hopes were shattered
by terror but are now on a steady path of recovery.