Teargas rocked Gulu on Thursday morning when Police Field Force Unit was engaged in running battles, trying to disperse students of Gulu College of Health Sciences who were demonstrating over the new fees structures, which they claim are exorbitant.
The demonstration started on Monday this week and the students had earlier on tabled their complaints about the new fees structures to the school administration but waited for response in vein.
The circular regarding the new fees structures indicates that diploma students under government sponsorship will pay 1.47 million shillings from 1.27 million shillings while private sponsored students would pay 2.5 million shillings from the initial 2.077 million shillings.
On Thursday morning as the students waited for a response, Joseph Mumbere, the Acting Gulu District Police Commander led dozens of Field Force Unit personnel to the college main campus located along Gulu Avenue and began firing teargas forcing the students, majority of whom majority were in their dormitories to run out of the college premises.
Some of the police officers armed with teargas canisters and sticks were seen entering the boys’ dormitory and beating up some of the students who were inside, forcing them to jump over the balcony and through windows with some of their belongings.
Some students fainted during the scuffle and were carried by their colleagues to Gulu Regional Referral Hospital Emergency Ward, a short from the school premises.
According to Stephen Awio, a second year student pursuing Diploma in Clinical Medicine, police stormed the school premises when most of the students were inside their dormitories revising their notes since lectures were halted last Friday following the demonstration.
The students allegedly became impatient after the school administration kept mute on their plights regarding the changes in the Dean of Students’ office and the revision of the fees structures hence prompting them to demonstrate.
However, David Mudong Ongom, the Aswa River Region Police Spokesperson argues that the police had intervened and asked the students to leave the school premises peacefully but met resistance from the students prompting police to use minimum force to disperse them.
He added that the use of teargas was uncalled for but that is was their last resort to quell the situation considering the fact that the actions of the students were becoming a threat to the people around the school premises.