COPPERBELT University Students Council says police lied that students who were brutalised on Saturday were rioting.
On Friday, 53 students were arrested, with some brutally beaten, for expressing anger over higher education minister Professor Nkandu Luo’s statement in parliament that CBU students in Kitwe would not be paid their meal allowances for unruly behaviour. The disbandment of the COBUSU further added to the students’ anger.
Police were deployed to the university late at night after the students started drumming pots in protest.
Some of the students were followed in their rooms, brutally beaten and arrested, according to their colleagues who spoke anonymously.
CBU Students Council chairperson Prince Chanda has confirmed that police raided students in their rooms and beat them up.
“This is to dispel the news which is in the public domain that students rioted on Friday, 8th December, 2017 and also to bemoan the unprofessional conduct the police displayed in the early hours of 9th December, 2017. At around 20:00 hrs on Friday, students got agitated by the statement by the Minister of Higher Education to suspend meal allowances. But as student leaders, we managed to calm them down and advised them not to riot. Alas, at exactly 00:00hrs of 9th December, 2017, the police decided to raid the school – breaking doors, picking up students and beating them ruthless. As if that was not enough, they even arrested them,”
Chanda stated today.
“In the process, laptops, phones and other items went missing from students’ rooms. I wish to categorically state that we the students of the Copperbelt University do not take pleasure in violence but the police just blow things out of proportion. We are peace loving students. All we ask is the government to hear us. There are so many things we want addressed by both management and government. We want the pathetic sanitation to be addressed with the urgency it deserves, allowances which are long overdue, furniture in lecture rooms, the list is long. We as student leaders have always done what is right and that is to dialogue. We are not going to be harassed, we are not going to [butcher] of our concerns and we will be heard. All we ask from our government is to be true to what they say in speeches and on paper that education is the key to national development. But let it not just end in mere rhetoric, they have to invest in it by supporting the vulnerable students at the CBU and the entire nation at large. I implore every well-meaning Zambian to condemn the barbaric behaviour by the police.”
He also denied social media reports that a student had died from Saturday’s police brutality saying they were just rumours which were addressed by Vice-Chancellor Professor Naison Ngoma.
“Today, 11th December, 2017, Students woke up to a rumour that a student has died as a result of the Friday night raid by the police. The students stormed the Vice-Chancellor’s Office demanding to be addressed. The vice chancellor addressed the students and dispelled the rumours saying no student has died,”