Amuru School Closed After Violent Student Strike

6065 Views Gulu, Uganda

In short
St. Marys College Lacor in Amuru district has been closed and at least 18 students arrested after a violent student strike on Saturday night. The students rioted in protest of an impromptu roll-call that was called to identify students who had sneaked out for a night disco across the road. It is alleged that some students jumped over the perimeter wall fence while others escaped through a prefecture they curved onto the perimeter fence.

St. Mary's College Lacor in Amuru district has been closed and at least 18 students arrested after a violent student strike on Saturday night.
  
The students rioted in protest of an impromptu roll-call that was called to identify students who had sneaked out for a night disco across the road. It is alleged that some students jumped over the perimeter wall fence while others escaped through a prefecture they curved onto the perimeter fence.
  
Joel Ochan, a teacher at the school says he opted to conduct the roll-call after many boys were seen loitering at Akurukwer trading centre at about 10pm. Ochan says after checking two dormitories, students locked themselves in other dormitories to disrupt the exercise.
  
The students then switched off electricity before starting to pelt stones onto the roof and at Ochan. As Ochan fled to notify Police, the protest escalated leaving several school properties vandalised.
  
The properties include more than four computers in the offices of the bursar, head teacher and director of studies among others. Glass windows of several buildings were smashed, garbage bins in the school compound uprooted and food stuff in the school store spread onto the ground.
  
A section of the perimeter wall fence and merchandise in the school canteen has also been destroyed.
  
Eighteen students of the school have been arrested and detained at Awer Police post in Lamogi Sub County.
  
Michael Labeja, the school head teacher says they were shocked to hear news of the strike as they prepared to send students on field trip.
  
Dominic Otto, the Amuru district inspector of schools ordered the school to be closed indefinitely. He says the extent of damage is still being analysed.
  
Joyce Lanyero, the acting Amuru district education officer, says the strike has taken the district many years backward.
  
Michael Lakony, the Amuru district chairperson says the strike is beyond ordinary school strikes.

Gilbert Olanya, the Kilak South Member of Parliament urged the school administration to investigate and punish the perpetrators of the strike while visiting the school this morning.
  
The strike comes barely two days after Sir Samuel Baker School in neighbouring Gulu district was closed for two weeks following a violent student strike which also left several properties destroyed.
  
Prior to the Sir Samuel Baker School incident, students of Angelo Negri College in Gulu pelted stones on several vehicles in Gulu town after a sports day. Some occupants of the car of Archbishop John Baptist Odama were injured during the attack on vehicles. Archbishop Odama was not in the vehicle at the time.

 

About the author

Peter Labeja
Peter Labeja has been a practicing journalist for the last 13 years during which he has covered part of the brutal conflict which bedeviled Northern Uganda as well as the painful transition to Peace thereafter. Emerging post conflict issues such as land rights of under privileged widows and orphans, challenges of access to social services in the immediate aftermath of Lord’s Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda.

Labeja is now the Northern Uganda Bureau chief in Acholi Sub Region since 2014 - Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya and Omoro districts as well as South Sudan falls within his areas of jurisdiction. He previously worked with The Vision Group for four years.

Labeja’s major career interests are in Climate Change; Agriculture and Environment - natural resources such as Water, Oil and Gas; Transitional Justice; Human Rights, Democracy and Governance as well as South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis. In 2013, Labeja was awarded a prestigious Pan African Journalism Award for excellence in journalism at United Nation’s UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya for Climate Change and Health Reporting.