Ongoing protest by Students of Njala University in the capital of Sierra Leone, Freetown and in the south-eastern cities of Bo and Kenema have gone bloody as incoming reports indicates police shootings and firing of teargas on the innocent citizens who are challenging the continued closure of their college.
Reports in Freetown revealed that police fired teargas to disperse the students and arrested an unspecified number of them as they converged in front of the residence of the President chanting for the reopening of college.
However In Bo, police have opened shootings on the students who have been burning tyres around Kebbie Town, Total and Peace Junction. All Shops in the area have reportedly closed.
The students are protesting against the long-running lecturers’ strike which has left their college closed since October, with the risk of forfeiting the whole academic year if it continues to the end of March.
They accuse government of “not showing interest” and being “insensitive” in resolving the matter which is over years of unpaid allowances, end-of-service benefits and non-payment of inheritance to families of lecturers who died in service.
The head of the striking lecturers says this has forced their retired colleagues and the bereaved families to live under considerably reduced circumstances. Dr Moriba Samba told Politico that all they wanted now was a commitment by Government that they would pay them – not necessarily paying them now – something he said hadn’t been done. Government is yet to make a public statement on the matter.