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UPDATE: Students Shot at School in Uganda

The Ugandan Sunday Monitor reports:

Bugema Seventh Day (sic) Adventist Secondary School was yesterday closed down and all its 1,000 students sent home after a two-day strike turned violent in the wee hours of Sunday morning forcing the Police to intervene.

The students were protesting poor feeding and mistreatment by teachers including use of corporal punishment by the administrators at the church-run school.

The Inspector General of Police, Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura, who visited the victims at Mulago Hospital, ordered for the arrest of the area District Police Commander Eddie Kulanyi and all officers who were involved in the discharge of live bullets.

The peaceful strike which started on Friday as a boycott of meals, turned violent when students started to smash school windows and doors. The school administration called in the police to quell the situation before the officers fired randomly and injured the two students.

Read the rest of the Sunday Monitor‘s story here.

Elizabeth Lechleitner at Adventist News Network writes:

Seventh-day Adventist Church officials in East-Central Africa are investigating circumstances behind the shooting of two students Sunday when local police used live fire to quell a riot at a church-run secondary school in Uganda.

The students remain in “stable condition” at Mulago Hospital in Kampala, the East African nation’s capital, said Esther Mugerwa, education director for the Adventist Church in Uganda. Five other students are also recovering after reportedly sustaining minor injuries during the incident.

Unrest among students at Bugema Adventist School in Luweero, Uganda, began two days earlier when a school administrator announced a much-anticipated weekend music program was cancelled without explanation, church officials said.

While calm seemingly returned to the campus on Saturday, rioting intensified Sunday morning and school administrators called the police, said Samual Mwebaza, Adventist Church communication director for Uganda. Students allegedly smashed in windows and doors, resulting in USh8 million (nearly U.S.$4,000) in damages to school property, a Bugema teacher told the Daily Monitor.

“Students reported that they had raised concerns and that the school administration didn’t respond, but the issues they listed didn’t warrant a strike,” Mwebaza said soon after the incident.

However, after talks with students and school administration this week, members of the church-led Strike Review Commission suggested deeper, ongoing issues may have driven the students’ protests, Ugandan Adventist officials said.

Students were unhappy that fines for losing meal tickets climbed from USh500 to USh2000 (U.S.$1). They also said a USh5000 fee at the school clinic was unfair, claiming such costs were already covered by general tuition, commission members learned. Investigations also revealed that students, including several from Kenya and Tanzania, claimed they were locked out of school premises for failing to pay school-related fees.

Read the rest of the ANN report here.

Images from the Bugema Adventist Secondary School website.


August 7 UPDATE: aggregates a new Monitor report on this story.

The parents, who turned up on Sunday for a meeting at the school, testified before the commission of inquiry how the school administration and Board had no working relationship with the parents but decide to engage the Police to resolve students’ problems without contacting the parents.

The parents also demanded to know the responsibility of the Adventist Union towards the school when their children are treated in ways that are not worthy of a Christian community.

Read the short report here.

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