March 24, 2017
Students protesting in Bo city
Students of Njala University yesterday engaged in a spontaneous protest in both Freetown and Bo town over government’s inaction to intervene and address concerns raised by the Academic Staff Association of the university.
It could be recalled that the Academic Staff Association at Njala University resumed a strike action in January, 2017 for what they considered as the administration’s refusal to pay outstanding allowances, benefits to retirees, and payment of benefits to families of deceased among host of other issues.
The college has remained closed as a result of government’s continued silence and indecision to solve the problem. And students, who have paid their fees and continue sitting at home for over three months since the re-opening of colleges, yesterday took to the streets in protest of the sit down strike orchestrated by lecturerers,thus calling on government to intervene and address the issue.
Confirmed report from the southern city of Bo revealed that one student, Mohamed Morlu, was allegedly shot dead by police during the protest, while another female student, Augusta Songai, was also reported to have sustained serious injury during the protest and was being hospitalised in Bo.
But police could not confirm the report as the Police Media Boss in Freetown, Gloria Edwards, could not be reached through her mobile phone.
In Freetown, the protest started from Hill Station, very close to the Presidential Lodge and ended at the centre of the city, around State Avenue, where students were dispersed by police, after they started pelting some vehicles.
Several arrests were made but police could not confirm the number.
Meanwhile, the Academic Staff Association of Njala University, in a public notice, has called on all lecturers to call off the strike action, while appealing to students to remain calm as negotiations were ongoing to address the issues.