THE National University of Lesotho (NUL) management has been forced to indefinitely shut down the institution following an orgy of student violence at the main campus in Roma.
Riotous students this week vandalised buildings and torched property at the institution to vent their anger over delays in the disbursement of their allowances by the National Manpower Development Secretariat (NMDS).
The money was expected to have been disbursed six weeks ago. The students blamed the administration for delaying to submit their registration details to NMDS.
The Tuesday violence left several students nursing injuries. Several buildings were vandalised by the students who also torched a guard room. The riots also saw some shops outside the university campus being vandalised and looted.
Vice Chancellor, Professor Isaac Olusola Fajana, immediately shut down the institution and sent home all local students.
“The vice chancellor has instructed the students to vacate the university premises. Staff members are advised to exercise caution while continuing with their normal university activities including online teaching,” NUL said in a statement.
The university also accused the students of demonstrating without the knowledge of the management and the Student Representative Council (SRC).
SRC president, Tumo Tsanyane, said one male student was critically injured and several others were being treated at the nearby St Joseph’s Hospital for injuries of varying degrees. The students were injured in clashes with their rioting counterparts who had accused them of betrayal for their failure to participate in the demonstration.
Mr Tsanyane said the critically injured student had to be transferred to Queen ‘Mamohato Memorial Hospital (QMMH) in Maseru.
“The nurses indicated that if the student was not rushed to Tšepong Hospital (QMMH) for quick surgery, his life could be in real danger,” Mr Tsanyane said.
In a Tuesday letter to the vice chancellor, the SRC accused the school authorities of fomenting the riots by negligently delaying to submit students’ registration details to the NMDS.
“The university management shares the burden of guilt towards inciting the rampage as so boldly mentioned on the university communication of 26 October 2021 (regarding) the academic registration which was delayed by a month and two weeks. This had a huge impact on their (students’) socio-economic lives as their stipends will also be delayed due to the late submissions of registration lists to the NMDS,” the SRC said.
Attempts to obtain comment from police spokesperson, Senior Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli, were unsuccessful yesterday evening as his phone rang unanswered.