Rioting students of Maseno University engaged police in running battles Tuesday as they protested over rampant insecurity in the area.
The protest that started at 3am Tuesday was sparked by an incident where a student was allegedly raped by an unknown gang the previous night.
The riot lasted several hours, causing business in the busy Kisumu-Busia road and Maseno Township to come to a standstill.
The protestors barricaded the road, looted and destroyed property worth millions of shillings in an incident that left scores injured.
Those injured include a senior Inspector of police attached to the Maseno Police Station.
At some point, the local residents joined hands with the police who seemed overwhelmed in their attempt to stop the shops from being looted by the fierce pelting of stones.
In what appeared to be a long-standing grudge between the students and the residents, the police were forced to lob teargas canisters to disperse the rioting students.
Businessman Alfred Nyongesa, whose lorry was set ablaze by the irate students, stated that the varsity students carried his lorry from where it was parked to the university’s main gate before setting it ablaze.
“The lorry was parked in my yard; the boys carried it to the gate and set it on fire before the police arrived,” said Mr Nyongesa.
The trader lamented the poor manner in which the insecurity issues affecting students in the university had been handled over time.
“It is very unfortunate that we have suffered losses due to problems generating from poor administration of university; this is very discouraging for the investors targeting to serve the market created by the presence of the college,” said Mr Nyongesa.
He asserted that the university has a lot of problems whose spill-over are felt by the business community residing in the area in the event of the protests.
“There are a lot of problems in the university; at the same time the community members feel aggrieved following continued blames levied on them as the main suspects in the pilferage cases,” he said.
The varsity administration, through the varsity public relations office, stated that the students came out to protest against the many unresolved cases of insecurity reported to the police.
“We have received numerous complaints of students losing property in their off campus residential areas; the cases are many with a good number not handled since they were reported,” said Mr Jasper Otieno, Maseno University Public Relations Officer
He, however, denied claims of student being raped as alleged by the irate students adding that no official reports had been recorded with university’s security department.
“It is true we have cases of rampant theft of student property but so far no rape case has been reported to our office or the security,” said Mr Otieno.
Mr Otieno said the university administration was in deep consultations over what decision to make regarding the issues that led to the Tuesday morning demo.
The double intake of students into the university has stretched the capacity of the institution to house its students within campus causing a number of students to live among the locals.