Five students of Gulu University have been arrested by anti-riot police in a foiled protest against the 15 per cent tuition increment at Makerere University.
About 70 students gathered on Friday at the main campus and held a press conference before they were intercepted and bundled into a waiting police patrol pick-up a few meters away from the university gate.
ASP John Bosco who led the operation told the students to call off the demonstration and warned them against holding an unlawful assembly. Those arrested include; Tonny Olanya Olenge, Kenneth Ssebunya, Herbert Azivua Amante and Mesach Kalami.
The students explained why they were participating in a solidarity demonstration. They said government is using Makerere as a benchmark for the tuition increment before it rolls it out to other public universities including Gulu University.
Jimmy Patrick Okema, the Aswa River Region police spokesperson revealed the arrested students will face charges of holding unlawful assembly and incitement of violence contrary to Public Order Management Act, 2013.
There is still heavy deployment of over 30 anti-riot personnel at the university vicinity to avert further threats. On Wednesday, the students wrote to Gulu district police commander (DPC), Emmanuel Mafundo, requesting for protection for their planned demo but they did not get any response.
Khalid Mohamoud, the assistant public relations officer of Gulu University says that management is not part of the planned demo by the students.
“There are students who had written to the police but those are personal issues and we have got nothing to do with that. Those are Makerere issues and we are not Makerere,” says Khalid.
The 15 per cent tuition increment on tuition has sparked off students protest at the university. The protests have been characterized by a violent crackdown on students by the police backed by the military paralyzing business at Uganda’s biggest and oldest public University.