Hoima, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Five students of Winners Secondary School in Hoima City, their director and sports master arrested after football riots, are out on police bond. They were arrested on Wednesday afternoon after student became rowdy following their school’s disqualification from the ongoing Hoima City Uganda Secondary School Sports Association (USSSA) boys football championships.
Winners Secondary School had qualified for the tournament’s quarterfinal after eliminating St. Andrea’s Kaahwa SS with a 1-0 scoreline. However, St. Andrea Kaahwa SS petitioned the organizing committee, stating that Winners SS was not licensed with the Ministry of Education and Sports, which is contrary to the new rules.
Consequently, the tournament organizing committee disqualified Winners Secondary School from the tournament.
The school administration mobilized its students, and they stormed Hoima Boma grounds, disrupting a match between Mandela Secondary School and Kitara SS.
The police intervened and fired tear gas and live bullets in the air to disperse the students, leading to the arrest and detention of the five students, their director, and the games and sports master.
Julius Hakiza, the Albertine region police spokesperson, told Uganda Radio Network in an interview on Thursday that the students and staff were released on Wednesday evening. He said that the suspects were charged with inciting violence and malicious damage as the students stoned and smashed windows of the Hoima City central police station during the protests.
Hakiza added that prior to their release, the police had received intelligence that other students from the school were planning to raid the police station to secure the release of their colleagues and staff members.
The school director, Godfrey Mwiine, has maintained that he will follow up on the issue to establish the circumstances under which the tournament organizing committee disqualified his school. Francis Bagonza, the USSSA organizing secretary for Hoima City, says they have tentatively suspended the tournament to allow them to settle the fracas.