International students under the Uganda Studies Program (USP) last week left Uganda Christian University (UCU) amid heightened security concerns.
University sources said some 26 students from the United States, Canada and United Kingdom were among those who returned to their countries prematurely. Deputy Vice Chancellor David Mugawe confirmed that the last group of ten students left on Wednesday, a week before their expected date of departure.
“Following terror alert, there were concerns from parents of USP students, through the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. They requested for the students to be sent back home,” Mugawe told The Observer.
He said the students would complete any pending academic work in their respective countries.
Security at UCU’s main campus in Mukono has also been beefed up since April 3, when police chief Kale Kayihura warned in a new terror alert that al- Shab ab militants were planning to hit schools and education institutions on the Kampala-Jinja highway.
Subsequently, fully-armed police were deployed on the UCU campus. Only the main gate has been left to be used as entrance and exit. The university also held closed meetings with hostel owners on how to ensure the safety of the students wherever they are.
Vice Chancellor John Senyonyi also issued a memo to staff and students, urging them to remain vigilant and follow guidelines of security personnel.
“As always, the most vulnerable are the highly-populated areas the university is one such place. I urge you to keep alert and take particular precaution. Keep away if there is no necessity for you to be in a crowded public place,” Senyonyi wrote.
The students are preparing for the end of semester exams amidst the anxiety over their safety. But Mugawe urged them to remain calm, saying the situation was under control. Some, however, argue that leaving one gate is open risky.
“Opening the other gates to help us have more options in case we are attacked is safer for us than the current situation of all of us using one main gate. I think is not wise,” said Isaac Makumbi, a student.
Source : The Observer