France to pay a year’s fees for 109 students injured in Garissa attack

The French government yesterday pledged to pay school fees for 109 students who were injured in the terrorist attack on Garissa University College, a constituent college of  Moi University.

This came as the university’s vice chancellor, Prof Richard Mibey announced that at least 646 students, who survived the terror attack, will relocate to the main campus in Eldoret to continue their studies on May 20.

Ms Annick Girardin, the Secretary of State for Development and Francophony and the French ambassador in Kenya Remi Marechaux said the move by the French government to pay the fees for a full academic year, was part of the help that their government was giving Kenya to help deal with the threat of terrorism from the Somalia-based al Shabaab militants.

“We are here to support our youth through education. We have to show solidarity with the Kenyan government in dealing with these people who want to spread fear by attacking our education institutions and threatening freedom of expression,” said the French minister said at the Moi University’s Nairobi Campus. Ms Girardin recalled the attack on the French paper Charlie Hebdo and the way the world mourned with the French and added that her government will.

The French also pledged additional unspecified aid for Moi University to make sure that all the students who were affected get to continue with their studies.

“This is a partnership, and it is upon you to tell us what you want so that together we decide how we can help. The French stands with all countries in the fight against terrorism,” said Girardin. Prof Mibey and top managers of Moi University said the help was welcome and it will help in the race to expand facilities at Moi University’s Main Campus in Kesses, Eldoret, to make sure that it can accommodate the extra 646 students, and the additional lecturers.

“The facilities at the Main Campus are inadequate. We will assess the needs of the other students too, because as you know, some of them are traumatized, and they don’t want to think about going back to the same campus. Some might not have been injured physically but they carry a lot of trauma. Once we get the full picture we will tell you,” said Prof Mibey told the French delegation.

The vice chancellor said the university will begin equipping the laboratories for the science students and build more office space for the additional lecturers who also fled from Garissa as a result of the terrorist strike. The relocation of the students and staff is to make sure they “minimise sorrow” for the affected students, Prof Mibey said.

The French delegation had Mr Jean Pierre Tutim, the counsellor for cooperation and cultural affairs; Ayito Nguema, the cooperation attache for higher education and the press attache Berenice Pieronnet.

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