On Thursday night, UPDF soldiers together with military and regular police officers broke into halls of residence and destroyed property belonging to Makerere university students.
This came amid reports that over 67 students detained at Wandegeya police station would be transferred to Nagalama Police Station overnight.
Students who spoke to edge.ug claimed that under the instruction of Prof. Hisaali, the Principal College of Business and Management Sciences, military besieged Lumumba Hall, indiscriminately broken into students’ rooms and brutally beat them.
“Students with Disabilities are being indiscriminately battered and bundled up on military vans,” a student told edge.ug.
He identified one of them a Balibali Michael, a deaf and dumb student; Nakanwagi Susan, a resident of MaryStuart who was allegedly groped and molested and Nsamba Patrick, the Students Guild Finance Minister, whose room was broken into and all his property vandalised.
Many residents of Lumumba hall were injured in the confrontations with the army firing rubber bullets and teargas in their rooms as well as brutally beating them with batons.
In retaliation, the students pelted stones and bricks at their tormentors turning the night into a fully-fledged armed assault.
The students also burnt flammable items like chairs and tables.
Police and army vehicles including water cannons are patrolling the campus streets, firing tear gas canisters targeting Africa Hall, Lumumba Hall, Mitchell Hall, Nkrumah Hall, among others.
The demonstration which started on Tuesday is against the 15 percent cumulative tuition increment approved last year by the University council.
Student leaders demanded Prof Hisaali’s suspension
Kirabo Marion, the Guild Minister For Gender, Ethics and Integrity has since demanded the suspension and immediate investigation of Prof Hisaali for allegedly unleashing military that brutalised students.
Kirabo said on Monday evening, one of her female colleagues was summoned by Prof. Hisaali to warn her that he would switch off security cameras during the peaceful demonstration on Tuesday, 22nd October, 2019 and beat them protesters to pulp should they go ahead with the demonstration.
“Last night, news broke out of the kidnap and severe beating (and possibly rape) to near death of Siperia Mollie Saasirabo, and the subsequent night raid of Lumumba Hall and Marystuart Hall this night. Students were indiscriminately bartered, women and Students with Disabilities alike.”
She added: “While Mollie has not fully regained her consciousness to recall of the trauma she might have gone through, the events preceding and proceeding her condition can only lay for us a clear case for the investigation of Prof. Hisaali in regard to her condition. Moreover, she earlier on complained of threats, intimidation and blackmail from University Management.”
She said the Dean Of Students, Mr. Kabagambe Cyriaco, earlier on issued a letter withdrawing Mollie’s candidacy from representing Makerere University as a female delegate at the Uganda National Students Association.
“Such violence, physical and psychological against women in institutions of learning by a deeply entrenched system of patriarchy that feels privileged to take advantage of a woman’s vulnerabilities and fears to tear them apart from progressing in society cannot continue to be looked on.”
Bobi Wine speaks
Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine also added his voice to those condemning the military suppression of students.
“Sad video captured at Makerere University last night. Rooms broken into, female & male students dragged out of halls of residence by the military. Badly beaten! 67 under detention for protesting tuition hike. Pathetic violations against unarmed students demanding fairness!” he said.
He added: “And yes, the people we pay to protect us didn’t find any problem breaking into the room of this student, a PWD, beating him up and destroying the few items found in his room! They even threw teargas canisters into students’ rooms! How shameless!”