Uganda: 70 Students Injured in Makerere Strike

More than 70 Makerere University students were yesterday injured and seven arrested in running battles with security forces after students held a protest against increase in tuition fees.

Most of the injured students, who were attended to by the Red Cross staff, had breathing problems probably caused by tear gas sprayed by police. The students marched around various faculties and destroyed property to show their disagreement to the proposed increase in the tuition fees from Shs3m to Shs6m annually.

The proposed increment is contained in the Auditor General’s report but requires approval from the government before it takes effect.

This is one of a string of strikes that have rocked the schools caused by financial challenges emanating from the high cost of living. One student said, “We can’t keep a deaf ear when the university is digging deep into our parents’ pockets amid the current inflation.”

Chanting students holding tree branches, stones and placards reading, “We go; we go… we want tear gas”, left their lecture rooms and flooded the university’s Freedom Square.

Riot Police then fired tear gas to disperse them. The angry students turned their wrath onto an airtime booth at the university canteen, which they burnt down.

After the ensuing chaos, police arrested the student’s Information minister Innocent Aguyo while another student Ronald Epuku’s ear was hit by a stray bullet. Students threw stones which injured Fadir Kaali, a police constable. Kampala Metropolitan Commander Grace Turyagumanawe said police managed quell the riot and closed off the school gates. University Chancellor Professor Mondo Kagonyera called for calm and denied they are to increase tuition.

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