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Makerere strike: Teargas canister shatters student’s hand

Richard Ssebuganda in hospital. Courtesy photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Richard Ssebuganda, a third year Bio Medical Sciences student at Makerere University has lost his right hand in an explosion of a teargas canister.

Ssebuganda who is currently in hospital admitted to the casualty ward is fighting to keep some part of his hand which was amputated.

According to the victim, the unfortunate incident happened yesterday afternoon in his room at Lumumba hall.

Since the week started, Makerere University students have been in demonstration against online lectures, which attracted police action involving shooting of teargas canisters into halls of residence.

Ssebuganda who reports that he had not taken part of the demonstration explains that he had briefly moved out of his room to pick a visitor who was already within the hall premises.

On returning, his visitor noticed there was a canister on Ssebuganda’s bed which he showed to his host.

It is at this point that Ssebuganda carefully picked the canister only for it to explode towards his chest.

He said; “When the canister moved with force towards my chest, I instinctively put out my hand to push it away.”

At the time URN visited the hospital, Ssebuganda was distraught, complaining that the hospital had not attended to him throughout the night.

“The whole night I was here, no medical attention, not given pain killers, my dad had to buy some from outside. I have not eaten since yesterday night.”

Micheal Kasaga, Ssebuganda’s care taker at the hospital expressed regret for his brother.

“The boy is doing a course in medicine that requires him to practice with his hands!” he lamented.

In the meantime, the University management represented by the Dean of students who came to check on Ssebuganda this morning is following up on the victims medication services with the University Hospital.

Luke Oweyesigire, the Kampala Metropolitan spokesperson acknowledged knowledge of the incident noting that investigations were still underway to establish under what circumstances the incident occurred.

Asked if it is normal to shoot into the students’ residences, Oweyesigire replied in the affirmative. “We usually shoot canisters into rooms where students are demonstrating from once deemed fit,” he said.

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