Police on Wednesday night tear gassed and assaulted University of Zambia (UNZA) students who rioted against delayed meal and book allowances.
Police who arrived at the scene minutes before 20:00 hours decided to attack students who were protesting on the Great East Road by tear gassing them and beating them with short batons as they forced them to retreat into the campus.
This culminated into a running battle between the police and students until they were forced into hostels where police fired teargas inside the hostels.
Some students who attempted to escape the mayhem by jumping through windows and balconies are reported to have broken their ribs and arms.
The students protested that government was funding by-elections at the expense of education and more pressing national issues.
Students found on the scene burning tyres and logs on the road complained that the PF government was not paying attention to their plight and that they regretted having voted for President Michael Sata.
The students complained among other things of the lack of vision by the PF government by creating by-elections which were costly to the nation.
“They cannot tell us that they don’t have money when they have invested so much in by-elections. This government selfish and greedy with its leaders and it is just a matter of time. We shall make a good decision by flushing them out the way we flush things in the toilet,” they said.
They said that it was unreasonable of the PF government to continue delaying paying students their meal allowances as they were nearing end of the semester.
They complained about police brutality, “They followed us in the rooms and teargassed us here. Some of our friends have broken their ribs and arms after they decided to jump over the balconies. The situation was extremely sad. This government is taking us nowhere. President Sata and his government are brutal. Students are not violent at all,” they said.
The students said that police officers who stormed the institution around 20:00 hours beat up everyone they found at the school including those who were studying in their rooms.
And Police have confirmed stopping the riots at the campus which started around 20:00 hours and went beyond 01:30.
Police spokesperson Elizabeth Kanjela said police picked 22 students who were released yesterday after warning them.
“We arrested 22 students in connection with the riot and were released after warning them. We only arrested those that we found on the road, she said.But sources within the police have described Kanjela’s statement as a “cheap lie” saying that police officers in riot gear were sent with specific instruction to beat them.
“They were given instructions to beat everyone misbehaving at the campus and that is how they followed them into the campus. They think that the riots at the campus are politically motivated. They (students) were released today after they realized that they might regroup and riot again in protest of their friends in cells,” said the source.