Police Tear-Gas Striking Bukalasa Students

Riot police on Monday fired tear gas to disperse angry students of Bukalasa Agricultural College in Luweero district, who were protesting the college policy to charge late-registration fees.

The students marched to Wobulenzi town, chanting against the “unfair” policy. They carried placards that read: “We are tired of unfair charges and corruption” and “Withdraw the charges now”.

Using logs and tables from a roadside market, they blocked the Gulu-Kampala highway and paralyzed traffic for over 30 minutes. This prompted riot police to fire live bullets in the air and tear gas to disperse the students.

Lameck Kigozi, the Savannah regional police spokesperson, says riot police was forced to open fire after the students threatened to destroy property. A number of students were arrested and taken into custody.

Felix Obet, the college minister Without Portfolio, says the students opted to strike after the college administration failed to address their grievances. The students want the college to withdraw its decision to charge them late- registration fees of 50,000 shillings.

They also want the college to streamline the fees structure because at the moment, students pursuing diploma courses pay almost the same amount of fees with those pursuing certificate courses. While those pursuing a certificate course pay Shs 1.2 million, a diploma student pays Shs 1.3 million per term.

Efforts to get a comment from Christine Anyait, the college principal, failed as she could not be reached by telephone. However, Eugene Elwaru, the officer in charge of Luweero police station, told URN after a meeting with the administrators, that they had aised management to withdraw the new charges for fear that the students could turn violent and destroy property.

Recently, Ndejje and Makerere University students also went on strike to protest increment of late-registration fees and compulsory payment of tuition within six weeks. Makerere University bowed to pressure and withdrew the directive but Ndejje University slapped a penalty of 227,850 shillings for the damages caused during the strike.

Source : The Observer

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