Tanzania: One dead, two seriously injured in attack on Christian university

The attackers poured petrol and set student accommodation alight, forcing students to flee into a nearby forest.Youtube | Capital TV

One person has been shot dead and two others seriously injured in an attack at a Christian university in Tanzania.

The attack at midnight on September 2 saw armed men set fire to the campus at the Sebastian Kolowa Memorial University, World Watch Monitor reports.

The university is owned by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, and named after the first African bishop of the North Eastern Diocese. According to its website, it recognises and professes "the human value and dignity of all society members, including people with disabilities, and whereby everyone is able to learn and live in harmony with God, fellow human beings and all creation."

Witnesses told local media that the assailants were heard discussing how to kill students before setting fire to the campus on Friday, and that it had been suggested they break in and massacre them.

The attackers poured petrol and set student accommodation alight, forcing students to flee into a nearby forest.

"In the room next to us we heard a group of people banging on the door, demanding it be opened," a student who witnessed the attack told Capital TV.

"We thought it was something normal, until they came and broke down our door. Then we realised 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."

One security guard was killed, shot dead by the assailants, and two others were seriously injured. A number of people are suffering minor injuries related to smoke inhalation.

The university is close to the Kenyan border. In April last year, more than 150 people, mostly students, died when al Shabaab militants attacked Garissa University in north-eastern Kenya. Survivors spoke of merciless executions by the attackers, who stalked classrooms and dormitories hunting for non-Muslim students.

Witnesses reported that gunmen singled out Christians for point-blank executions during a 13-hour killing spree. Some survivors were forced to pretend they were dead by covering themselves in blood.