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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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	A view of the Westgate mall from AU students’ apartment complex in Nairobi, Kenya on Sept. 23.

Kenya abroad program to continue after shooting

NAIROBI, Kenya— All AU students studying in Kenya remain safe and are taking precautions after a nearby mall shooting on Sept. 22 left 72 dead.

The program’s 24 students live in a gated apartment complex that is guarded 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Students will only leave their apartments to go to class and the internships via taxi for the remainder of the week, according to Yolande Bouka, the interim director of the program.

Gunmen entered the Westgate mall in Nairobi on Sept. 22, killing 72 people after a four day siege that ended on Sept. 24, according to a New York Times article. The attackers have not yet been identified, but are presumed to be from a Somali Islamic militant group called Al Shabab.

Although the Westgate mall is located 1.24 miles from the students’ apartments, the AU Abroad program in Nairobi will continue as planned as of Sept. 25.

Students witness the attack

Students saw police helicopters above the Westgate mall and heard the faint sound of an explosion on Sept. 22, according to Conor Jackman, a junior in the School of International Service.

The next day, students heard ongoing gunfire and watched smoke rise from the Westgate building during the afternoon hours. Two helicopters and one plane continued to circle the mall throughout the day.
While the majority of students were away from Nairobi on Sept. 22, a handful were in the city when the shooting began.

“I am thankful that no one from our program was hurt, but sad that this tragedy had to occur,” said Tyler Sadonis, a senior in the School of Public Affairs, who is currently studying abroad in Kenya.

Editor’s Note: Steven Murphy is an Eagle reporter currently studying abroad in Nairobi, Kenya.

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