Students at Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) have Monday held a peaceful demonstration over insecurity which they say resulted into the gruesome murder of one of their colleagues, a medical student.
The student was strangled to death by unknown assailants last week.
Brian Akampurira, a 2nd year student at MUST pursuing a Bachelors Degree of Medicine was killed on October 17 as he was coming returning tohis residence from Holy Innocent’s Hospital in Nyamitanga where he had taken food for his sick Aunt.
Akampurira’s body was discovered the following morning in TASO village, near the university campus, lying near a lagoon. The body had marks that showed signs of violence. He was buried on Saturday in Nyakibare in Rukungiri district.
On Monday, angry students led by their Guild President marched to the office of the Resident District Commissioner’s (RDC) seeking assurance regarding the security situation in the district.
Students say Police has not done much to provide security in some of the black spots of crime where most of the university students have been attacked and their property stolen, and others being raped in the night.
The MUST Guild President, Muhumuza Ryan Umar, said students are concerned over the growing attacks against them.
“We came here to react after subsequent attacks on students of Mbarara University of Science and Technology by wrong elements in areas where students stay,” he said on Monday.
He told journalists that the assailants have on several occasions waylaid students and robbed them of their valuables including phones and laptops.
“They have now started taking our lives which explains the circumstances of meeting the RDC, RPC, RISO, Division Commander and DPC,” he told reporters.
“You know you can’t give issues of security to the wrong elements. We are trying to find way forward on how to boost up security for students in the dark spots such as Kashanyarazi, TASO village, Katete and even in the Boma tank hill hostels,” Muhumuza explained.
Adrian Seruwo, a student of Education said; “The fact that we are insecure means the university is also insecure, because we are the ones that make up the institution”.
Speaking to reporters later, the RDC of Mbarara, Lt. Col. James Mwesigye gave assurance that security agencies in the district will ensure an incident such as last week’s does not reoccur.
“A student of Mbarara University was killed as he was moving back to the university hostel at night, and that’s why students came to my office this morning to complain,” said Lt Col Mwesigye.
“Good enough, they found us in a security meeting discussing the same issue and planning how we are going to curb insecurity in the district”.
Mwesigye says the district security team is going to intensify operations in the named dark spots.
“We are going to handle those dark spots causing problems in Mbarara. I may not give you what we have all planned because when you discuss security issues publicly, then you are alerting the criminals to get prepared,” he explained.
The RDC promised to engage owners of properties rented by university students to employ security officers to safeguard the students and their property.
“You cannot take the security of students’ huge population for granted because these students pay rent and in return, they should be provided security together with their property,” said Mwesigye.
He appealed locals in Mbarara to always provide information that can aid the efforts to rid the area of criminal elements. He encouraged them to utilize the Local Council (L.C) structures which are part of the security committee.
Col Mwesigye revealed that Police has already arrested some suspects in relation to last week’s murder.