Mbale, Uganda | URN | At least 50 students of Mbale Secondary School are admitted in various health facilities in Mbale after choking in teargas fired by Uganda police on Thursday 25th.
A team of police officers led by Mbale District Police Commander, Fred Ahimbisibwe fired teargas to stop clashes between Mbale SS students and their arch rivals of Nkoma SS. Several students collapsed as a result of choking on teargas – forcing teachers to use their private cars to ferry them to hospital.
The students are admitted in Mbale Regional Referral Hospital, Veina Medicalcare, Cure Children’s Centre and, Joy Hospice Hospital among others. Majority of the teargas victims are female students. One of the students accidentally washed his face with acid after the tear gas entered his eyes.
The fracas lasted for close to two hours grinding all activities in the school to a halt. Many students were seen cursing police for unnecessary use of excessive force, saying there was no need for the tear gas since the clashes had already ended.
According to information obtained by this publication, the fight between the students of the two rival schools started on Tuesday when a gang of students from Nkoma SS beat up their colleagues from Mbale SS.
The rival gangs from the two schools clashed sucking in their colleagues from Mbale High school. A senior two student at Mbale SS said that the groups attacked students at the gate forcing Boda boda operators at the neighbouring stage to disperse them, which infuriated them.
Siraji Masa, the head prefect Mbale SS, says the fight was reignited on and started on Wednesday when some students from Nkoma SS attacked those of Mbale SS and snatched their bags. He says Mbale SS students were defending themselves against an attack by gang from Mbale High school.
Kassim Magombe one of the teachers at Mbale SS, says they had calmed the situation and only called police to deploy so that their students could move back home freely after receiving intelligence that students were planning an attack. Magombe said there was no chaos at the school that necessitated the use of tear gas, which affected their operations.
Efforts to get a comment from the Elgon Region police spokesperson were futile and his known phone number was switched off. The heads of the three schools were locked up in a meeting by the time of filing this story that was out of bounds to journalists.