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Kenyan Student Shot Alongside Three Others Mourned as “prayerful, friendly, obedient girl”

Jesca Leado, a student at Tangaza University College, shot dead by unknown assailants in Marsabit County, northern Kenya.

A student at a Kenya-based Catholic University who was shot Monday, June 8 by unknown bandits alongside three others in Kenya’s Marsabit County is being mourned and remembered as a “staunch Catholic” who was “prayerful, friendly, ever-smiling, very obedient, (and) well- behaved.”

Aged 23, the late Jesca Leado Njigularin was shot along with three others, Nchuchu Mosor (23), Peter Obeile (25) and Dan Lantare (17), while returning home from Marsabit town located in northern Kenya where she had gone to follow online class sessions over the weekend.

She was a third-year student at the Centre for Leadership and Management (CLM) of Tangaza University College (TUC), a Constituent College of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA).

She was laid to rest Tuesday, June 9, TUC Chaplain, Fr. Daniel Karau reported and announced the Memorial Mass in her honor at TUC Chapel on Wednesday, June 10 to be attended by a "handful people" due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Recalling circumstances around Jesca’s death, TUC’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor Designate Academic and Student Affairs, Fr. Apollinaire Chishugi said that Jesca had returned to her ancestral home in Marsabit County before the travel restrictions were declared.

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“Since she does not have electricity in her home, she used to go to Marsabit town every weekend and stayed with her cousin so that she can attend the online classes on Fridays and Saturdays then goes home on Mondays,” Fr. Apollinaire said in his Tuesday, June 9 statement seen by ACI Africa.

He continues in reference to the late student, “So this Monday on her way back home they were on a motorbike herself and three more people. Then the gangsters burst from the bush and gunned them down. They all died on the spot. The sad news was announced to us by her cousin who identified the body at the mortuary.”

According to a report by Kenya News Agency (KNA), the 6 p.m. attack took place at Songa-Badasa junction in Songa location near Badasa water point, Marsabit Central by unknown assailants who were armed with guns. The agency has quoted Songa Chief Abdi Dera saying that the attackers disappeared into Mount Marsabit forest and that the motive of the attack is yet to be established.

Following the news of Jesca’s death, members of TUC have paid glowing tributes to her, acknowledging her kind personality and Catholic faith practice since she joined the Nairobi-based institution in 2017.  

“She was a staunch Catholic and whenever she was in Tangaza she used to participate in Sunday Mass at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart where she served as one of the liturgy animators,” TUC Chaplain, Fr. Daniel says adding that a memorial Mass was held in honor of the deceased student at the Nairobi-based Shrine of the Sacred Heart on Tuesday, June 9. 

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In a message sent to ACI Africa, Caroline Kaldale describes her late cousin as a “committed, baptized Catholic member who served as a choir member in Marsabit parish.”

“The family and community at large expected much from Jesca once she graduates since she had leadership qualities,” Caroline who is also a student at TUC adds in reference to her cousin, Jesca who was the third born in a family of six children

The Director of CLM, Sr. Agnes Njeri has eulogized Jesca as a “prayerful, friendly, ever-smiling, very obedient, well- behaved girl.” 

She adds in reference to Jesca, “She was the hope of their community. She was very focused that she would change her people when she gets her degree. She had big dreams.”

Sr. Agnes also remembers Jesca as a “very cute, slim, tall girl” who refused to go into modelling due to her shyness.

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“From her first year, I would tell her to model but she would say, no I can’t, I’m very shy,” Sr. Agnes recalls. 

“Jesca’s death is so heartbreaking. She is a flower snatched without its maturity; a dream shattered. We have lost a very nice girl as Tangaza community and CLM,” says the Kenyan-born nun. 

For Emmanuel Ojo who met Jesca two years ago, she was a “lively person with a genuine smile.”

“I will miss her smile. She was always smiling,” Emmanuel says and recalls receiving the news of Jesca’s demise saying, “When I heard the news, I texted her thinking it was false information and I was waiting for her to reply but she didn’t. I was so confused.”

“She was smiling in all her pictures. I looked at them and it was so painful,” says Emmanuel.

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“There is nothing we can do other than to accept. She was still young but only God knows best and the future of every one of us. We pray for the family.” he adds.

Millicent Dorcas Kajimba who has followed courses with Jesca told ACI Africa that her late colleague and friend was “a jovial, loving and very hardworking.”

“You could see leadership in her and she was going to make a change and transformation in her county,” Millicent adds. 

“My heart is saddened. My heart is bleeding. What a kind loving soul gone too soon. I find it hard to believe you are no more. It will take me time to accept the truth. RIP darling,” Millicent mourns her friend. 

On social media, Jesca was eulogized by friends who had interacted with her and called for justice.

“Life is sacred and No one has power to take it other than God. I condemn this kind of atrocity. They never deserved this kind of death; may God rest their souls in eternal peace. Shine with angels.” John Abdud posted, calling on security agencies to bring to book the perpetrators of this heinous act.

“Rest in peace sweet girl. Nothing could stop you from pursuing your dreams..... (not) even Covid-19. Unfortunately, some evil being chose to shatter your dreams and to end your life mercilessly. Truly sad,” Sr. Jacinta Ondeng posted.

“We are all devastated and speechless. Jesca was an amazing and exceptional friend and classmate. We pray that her soul may rest in peace.... We are missing you dear one, we are missing you,” Christopher Ondo eulogized in a Facebook post.

Diid Mpenda Amani posted in reference to those killed alongside Jesca, “Their only mistake was coming back from town after spending their day in the town. They are unarmed, why kill these young promising souls? Your perpetrators will have no peace. Rest in peace buddies.”

“Jessica my friend, my classmate, my church mate you left a gap in our hearts. We talked before you were killed; I wish death would at least notify that you are going for me to bid goodbye but I know you are in a safe place, heaven,” Aggmum Lesurmat posted and added, “For your killers, God will give them double pain more than we experience, rest in peace.”

A contingent of security officers was deployed to the area to hunt down the suspected bandits, local media in Kenya has reported.