A mob attacked and burned Sebastian Kolowa Memorial University (SEKOMU) in Tanzania last Saturday, Sept. 2, resulting in the death of a security guard and the serious injury of two others.
A witness reportedly heard the attackers planning ways to kill the students. Another witness said that there was banging on the doors before the attackers forcibly entered her room and started a fire.
"In the room next to us we heard a group of people banging on the door, demanding it be opened," a witness told Capital TV.
"We thought it was something normal, until they came and broke down our door. Then we realized that it was not. As I wanted to get out, they told us not to and took a can of petrol and poured it on the floor and told each other to light it," the witness added.
Some of the students escaped through the windows and ran to the forest. The attackers immediately left after starting the fire.
The university, located near the Kenyan border, is owned by the North Eastern Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania. It was named after Rev. Sebastian Kolowa who was the diocese's first African bishop.
Just weeks before the attack, the Intergovernmental Authority of Development held a series of consultations to address violent extremism in Tanzania and other eastern African countries. The endeavor was supported by the government of Japan and the United Nations Develpment Programme (UNDP).
Rosa Malango, a representative of the UNDP, believes that measures to counter such atrocities should be a priority for everyone.
"At UNDP and the UN, we recognize that while the battle for violent extremism needs to be won at the local and national level it requires a regional response to be sustained," she said.
She noted that the youth in Africa are vulnerable to be recruited by extremist groups if they are not properly informed.