NAITOBI, Ten recruits from the National Youth Service (NYS) training college in Gilgil in Nakuru County, about 120 kilometres northwest of here, are fighting for their lives following an early morning stampede in the institution.
More than 100 students and senior officers were left nursing soft tissue injuries. It is alleged a blast at the institution caused a stampede during the morning parade, an allegation the management has denied.
Scores of the injured recruits were later transferred to Rift Valley General Hospital suffering from fractures while the rest were treated and discharged.
At the Gilgil sub-County hospital those injured were wheeled in by ambulances as medical personnel moved to attend to them. The Nakuru County security committee visited the institution on a fact-finding mission while journalist were locked out.
Speaking on the phone, the commandant in charge of the institution, Isaac Ndirangu, attributed the stampede to a group of students trying to flee from their seniors. The group was found hiding in some classrooms while their colleagues, numbering more than 10,000, were at the normal Monday parade.
“The group, on spotting their seniors, fled from their hideout towards the crowd leading to panic among the others and this led to the stampede,” he said.
Ndirangu denied that there was any explosion, adding that the situation was back to normal and that normal operations had resumed.
Gilgil Member of Parliament Mathenge Nderitu who visited the injured spoke of an explosion in the institution which is located opposite an army barrack.
Nderitu said that the explosion caused by an electrical fault led to the stampede in which scores were injured while trying to run away.
“The report we got is that there was an explosion and in the wake of the recent terror attack in Somalia, there was a stampede in the institution,” he said.
Speaking in her office, the superintendent in charge of the Gilgil Sub-County hospital, Dr Catherine Gitau, said that they had received 108 students. The majority of those injured were suffering from soft tissue injuries and their condition was stable.
“We have received 108 causalities from NYS following a stampede in the morning and we have referred ten of them to Rift Valley PGH for specialized treatment,” she said.