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Police Disperse Gulu Medical Students with Teargas

On Thursday morning, Joseph Mumbere, the Acting Gulu District Police Commander led dozens of Field Force Unit personnel to the college main campus located along Gulu Avenue who began firing teargas forcing the students, majority of whom majority were in their dormitories to run out of the college premises.
Field Force Police officers firing teargas to disperse the students along Gulu Avenue -Photo by Jesse Johnson James

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Police Field Force Unit in Gulu on Thursday morning fired teargas to disperse  students of Gulu College of Health Sciences who were demonstrating over the new fees structures, which they say is exorbitant.

The students who started the demonstration on Monday this week had earlier on tabled their complaints about the new fees structures to the school administration but waited for response in vein.

According to the circular regarding the new fees structures, diploma students under government sponsorship would 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.

However 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 who 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.

The students who fainted during the scuffle were carried by their colleagues to Gulu Regional Referral Hospital Emergency Ward, a short from the school premises.

Stephen Awio, a second year student pursuing Diploma in Clinical Medicine says police stormed the school premises when most of the students were inside their dormitories revising their notes since lectures were halted last Friday last following the demonstration.

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According to Awio, the students 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.

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Another student who declined to mention his name faulted the police for intervening with maximum force saying the students had held a peaceful demonstration.

David Mudong Ongom, the Aswa River Region Police Spokesperson told URN in an interview that the police had intervened and asked the students to leave the school premises peacefully but police met resistance from the students prompting police to use minimum force to disperse them.

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Mudong noted 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.

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When contacted, Jane Babalanda, the Principal of Gulu College of Health Sciences declined to comment on the matter saying she is still engaged in a meeting degrading the students’ plights.