Student mob storms Nairobi newspaper office

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New York, June 13, 2000 — The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemns the June 12 student mob attack on the downtown Nairobi offices of the state-owned daily Nation.

The students, from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), stormed the newspaper in response to a Nation article alleging that drug abuse was rampant on the university campus. They smashed all the ground floor windows of Nation Center, headquarters of the state-owned Nation media group, before throwing paraffin-soaked tires into the building.

The fire was quickly extinguished, according to CPJ’s sources in Nairobi. However, police were blamed for standing by and failing to prevent the student rampage.

Chanting “Nation must go!,” the students threw rocks through the building’s windows, stoned passers-by and smashed several cars parked in front of the Nation Center. They also stole computers and other office equipment from the Diamond Trust Bank and the Nation Ad Center, which occupy the building’s ground floor. A Reuters photographer was roughed up by students who mistook him for a staff member of the Nation.

Meanwhile, local police said one student died when he fell off a truck that he and his companions had hijacked on the outskirts of Nairobi, while several other protesters sustained minor injuries and cuts.