What you need to know:
- Makerere University students on Monday engaged in running battles with police and military, who fired teargas to disperse them. The students were demonstrating against online lessons.
Makerere University third-year student of Medicine and Surgery Richard Ssebuganda, whose hand was shattered by a tear gas canister on Monday, might never be able to perform surgery on his patients after two fingers on his right hand were amputated yesterday at Mulago hospital.
Makerere University students on Monday engaged in running battles with police and military, who fired teargas to disperse them. The students were demonstrating against online lessons.
Ssebuganda, 22, met his fate on Monday evening when he returned to his residence in Lumumba Hall , according to witnesses, only to find a tear gas canister on his bed.
Jerome Ogwang, a second-year student of Engineering and a resident of Lumumba Hall, yesterday told Monitor that Ssebuganda tried to pick the canister from his bed, which burst in his right hand before he threw it out through the window.
Ogwang said Ssebuganda was taken to the university hospital, which referred him to Mulago hospital.
“Ssebuganda woke up in the morning to go and attend his lectures like it is a routine for students, although there was chaos at the university. During the chaos, police threw tear gas canisters into Lumumba hall where we reside,” Ogwang said.
Another witness, Ivan Sserunkuuma a fourth-year student pursuing bachelor’s in Medicine, said he knew Ssebuganda when he wanted to contest for guild presidency but dropped out of the race and contested for college president.
“Ssebuganda lost his arm to a teargas canister at around 5pm when he had come back from lectures with his female friend. The female friend showed him the canister that was on his bed, and as he tried to throw it away thinking it was empty, it exploded and crashed his arm,” Sserunkuuma said.
Ms Shamim Nambassa, the Makerere university guild President, who also paid a visit to the victim, said Ssebuganda lost two of his fingers (middle and index finger) .
Ssebuganda was being attended to by his father and brothers who declined to speak to journalists.
University management speaks out
The deputy vice chancellor of Academic Affairs, Prof Umar Kakumba, yesterday said the university management was not aware of the incident.
“We have asked the director of our university hospital to visit the student in question and give us a preliminary report on his condition,” Prof Kakumba said.
He tasked the police to explain how the teargas canister got into the room of the victim.
“It is unfortunate that the student has got a lifetime injury but as the university, we cannot explain how the tear gas canister got where the student found it,” Prof Kakumba added.
The Kampala Metropolitan deputy police spokesperson, Mr Luke Owoyesigire, confirmed the accident.
Mr Owoyesigire said after an engagement with students at Wandegeya Police Station who had gone to secure bond for their colleagues who were arrested during the Monday strike, police escorted them back to the university and they all went to their residences, and order was restored.
“However, we received information of the injured student who is currently admitted to Mulago hospital after allegedly picking a tear gas canister that exploded his hand. The incident was reported to police yesterday by the dean of Lumumba Hall,” he said.He said police were still investigating the incident.