Christian university in Tanzania attacked and burned; one man dead, two seriously injured

A Christian university has been attacked in Tanzania, with one man shot dead and two others seriously injured.

At midnight on Sept. 2, two armed men entered the campus of the Sebastian Kolowa Memorial University in Lushoto, just around the border with neighboring Kenya. The men poured petrol and set the student accommodations on fire. Students staying in the building were forced to climb out of  the windows and flee to a nearby forest. 

(Reuters/Thomas Mukoya)Traders sell fish at the Darajani market in the historic centre of Stone Town in the Indian Ocean Island of Zanzibar, Tanzania during the month of Ramadan

According to witnesses, the suspects had been discussing how to kill the students before ultimately deciding to set fire to the campus. They initially planned on breaking in and shooting everyone inside the school.

"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 said, as quoted by Christian Today.

"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."

During the attack, a security guard was shot dead by the suspects. Two others were seriously injured, and a lot of students have suffered minor injuries in their attempt to escape and also because of inhaling too much smoke from the fire. 

The school is owned and managed by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania. Its namesake was the first African bishop of the North Eastern Diocese, Bishop Sebastian Kolowa.

According to the school website, the school recognizes 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."