Thursday, 5 May 2016

CONFESSIONS OF A GARISSA ATTACK VICTIM

It wasn’t what he said that scared me, it was how he said it. The rapture of his voice could send a vampire back to its grave, his tone was not that of trauma. It had something hazy, some sort of hidden fear marinated with great strength. He saved himself from the jaws of death in the land of paradise he says. He never wanted to leave Garissa. It was his Canaan. The militants egyptified it.

There were rounds of ammunition fired, really loud bangs then grave silence like something bad was about to happen. Two minutes after that a pandemonium escaped; chaos everywhere. I was in my room when it all happened. The militants ordered students to come out of their rooms and lie face down on the school grounds. Some did, others couldn’t live up to the task.

I couldn’t leave my room, my friends and I were frightened and knew Hell’s gates were flooded. We hid in the last room of the dormitory side. Thank God our room looked more like a storage facility from the outside; something which always bothered us but who knew it would be our ticket out of the heist.

After realizing that some students were still hiding in the halls of residence, they set out for them. Each room was ransacked and those found were made to kneel outside along with the rest. I didn’t know it was about to blow up. We only thought they were out to scare us or send a message that Garissa has gone back to its ancestral ways. But we were wrong.

The militants were targeting Christians. It was definite, they conversed in Arabic but addressed in Swahili. Being a Christian, I was certain I would not see another day if I stepped out of that room. It was my safe haven. Luckily I had Muslim friends who dressed me in a Kanzu just in case. A few students were saved by the Kenyan Defense Forces but those who remained were not as fortunate. Another round of shots was heard. It did not seem like they had killed two people.

We quickly hid under the bed and covered our ears. There was a lot of screaming and I could smell death from round the corner. The militants then told the girls to separate from the boys. Some few boys pretended to be female thinking that they would be pardoned. They thought wrong. The radicals shot every single one of them in cold blood in front of the others.

Earsplitting wails could be heard once more but they were ordered to calm down or they suffer the same. By this time I was no longer scared. I had accepted my fate. I had lost hope. I no longer froze at the thought of death. I just lay on that floor waiting for it to come find me and be done with.

I lost friends, classmates even enemies I might say. I was not ready to give them up, they were taken from me and from their families. I only have memories now, there is no point of memories if you can’t remake them with those who you loved.

Moi University Garissa branch was an amazing place after it was reckoned. The sun was always up, the community was united and commodities there were accessible and cheap. Anyone would have fallen in love with it after a few days; it was paradise to most of us. I guess nothing good last forever. I want to pay a tribute to all those who passed away and many condolences to the family.

-The above is a former student of Moi University Garissa branch and a survivor of the second deadliest attack made on Kenyan soil.

A moment of silence for the 148 students we lost.