The US Mission in Uganda has said the heavy-handedness by Uganda security operatives against striking Makerere University students is uncalled for.
“The US Mission in Uganda is increasingly concerned about the violence at Makerere University in response to ongoing protests against the proposed tuition increases. Footage of security services attacking unarmed students in their residence halls and attacks on journalists covering the protests are especially disturbing,” the Mission said in a statement issued on Monday October 28, 2019.
“This heavy-handed response by security services is uncalled for, and is a direct affront to the freedoms of assembly, speech and expression guaranteed by Uganda’s constitution. We urge the Government of Uganda to allow Ugandans to exercise their basic rights peacefully without fear.”
On Tuesday this week, the students at Uganda’s biggest and oldest public university kicked off a strike against the 15 percent cumulative policy. They demand that it should be scrapped on grounds that it is unfair to privately sponsored students.
Over 20 students were on that day arrested for attempting to march to the office of the president to present a petition to President Yoweri Museveni to have the policy scrapped. They were later in the evening released on police bond.
On Wednesday, 15 students including the Guild President Julius Kateregga were also arrested as the strike took a new twist.
Before the arrest, Kateregga said that several first-year students had taken a dead year because of the tuition burden.
“We’re still pursuing the road of dialogue but management seems to be hellbent on asserting their authority,” he said.
“We’ve discussed this with the Vice-Chancellor. Unless our people are threatened, our only mandate is to stand and protect the students.”
The military on Thursday night allegedly raided students’ halls of residence where they flogged them with batons before destroying their properties worth millions of shillings.
The affected students belonged to Lumumba, Mitchell and Mary Stuart halls.
This night raid left a number of them nursing head injuries, broken bones while some nearly bled to death.
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