Victim narrates agony of police brutality
Amid chaos and confusion, on Wednesday evening the capital city’s streets momentarily resembled a war-zone as riot police ruthlessly moved to crush a strike by Botho University College students.
Although no fatalities have yet been reported, one student was shot and several badly beaten – with a female student currently in critical condition at Princess Marina Hospital.
Earlier in the day, striking students had gathered at the University’s campus to sing struggle songs after it recently emerged that only four of the 48 courses offered by the institution were accredited.
Despite the apparent peaceful nature of the protest, with tension mounting, armed police officers decided to storm the University grounds to disperse the strikers.
According to eye-witnesses, officers used extreme violence to diffuse the situation, firing rubber bullets and tear gas, and lashing out at any student unlucky enough to come within range of their whips.
Speaking exclusively to The Voice, one of the students injured in the pandemonium, Kessy Libuku revealed that police chased after fleeing protesters as they attempted to escape to the nearby Bus rank and Game City Mall.
According to Libuku, several students fell and were trampled on during the ensuing stampede.
“All hell broke loose. They dragged some of the students out of the combi and whipped them. I have never been this traumatised.
“It was like I was watching the movie, Sarafina. Some students collapsed due to the shock and some trampled on them. I do not think I will sleep well tonight – I cannot imagining helpless victims rolling on the ground screaming and crying for help,” recalled a visibly shaken Libuku, sporting a nasty-looking gash on her head.
Describing how she sustained the wound, Libuku said she was running for her life when she heard a gunshot and felt something hot hit her head.
With the adrenalin pumping, it was not till later that she realised she was bleeding from the head. Eventually she made it to a clinic where the injury was stitched up.
She believes she is lucky to be alive.
When quizzed on the carnage, Police Public Relations Officer, Witness Bosija confirmed there were some disruptions at Botho and that police were called in to calm the situation.
He noted that seven students have since been arrested and that a Police vehicle was damaged in the chaos.