How does one make a gun attack drill seem as real as possible? Using live ammunition would be the obvious answer.
That's exactly the logic police tried to employ in a security exercise at Strathmore University in Kenya on Monday.
While it is reported that authorities had warned that a "mock terror drill will be carried out" in posts on Facebook on Sunday night, the message clearly fell on deaf ears as the resulting widespread panic and stampeding left two dozen injured and one staff member, 33-year-old Esther Kidemba, dead from head injuries.
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Nairobi has been on heightened alert after bomb and gun attacks by Somali al Shabaab militants such as the storming of Garissa Universitynear the Somali border in April in which 147 people were killed, and the 2013 Westgate mall attack in Nairobi, where 67 were killed.
With all the recent violence still fresh in students' minds, most assumed the attack was real, stampeding to take cover. Some reportedly jumping from the second floor window of their classroom to escape the faux gunmen, others wading through a stream to get away from the perceived danger.
One tutor at Strathmore recalled the incident, saying that the students, who had not been informed about the security drill, panicked in fear that the exercise was another attack by al Shabaab militants.
%shareLinks-quote="I heard two gunshots. Everyone started running, I grabbed whatever I could." type="quote" author="A tutor at Strathmore University" authordesc="" isquoteoftheday="false"%
Local radio station Nation FM tweeted the following to try and contain the situation:
But by that time, Twitter had already exploded with panic and wild speculations over the unknown source of the gunshots.
Since the incident, the university has released a statement saying that "the simulation was aimed at testing the preparedness of the university community and emergency team in the event of an attack," and that "the situation is under control and normal operations have resumed."
The statement added that the university started an "intensive assessment of key lessons learned during this simulation" and said that the medical expenses of those injured would be taken care of.
Students are not satisfied with the response, however, some even going as far as to call the drill a real terrorist attack-- carried out by the university on it's students:
Learn more about the 2013 Westgate mall attack in Nairobi here: