Police arrest 15 Mzuni students after riot

There was pandemonium at Mzuzu University (Mzuni) campus Wednesday morning when riot police invaded the institution and fired teargas at students who were demonstrating over their tuition loans which they are to receive from Malawi Savings Bank (MSB).

The students went berserk and blocked the M1 road (Mzuzu-Karonga) while burning used motor vehicle tyres and stoning any passing car to confirm their anger at school authorities and MSB management for failing to pay each student on generic program the K55 000 loans.

Armed security personnel rushed to the area to fire teargas to disperse the fuming students from the road and arrested 15 scholars in the process.

Classes have been disturbed following the unrest.

Mzuni students barricade the road

The police officers also invaded girls’ hostels where some students were hiding and fired teargas which resulted in four female students fainting.

At the time of posting the article, one girl whose name was not immediately identified, was still unconscious at the university’s dispensary.

Police confirmed that 15 students- five girls and 10 boys- had been apprehended and have been charged with malicious damage and conduct likely to cause breach of peace.

The students are currently remanded at Luwinga Police station in the city.

Reports from the institution indicate that the bank only paid about 144 students while about 500 got half of the loans while the rest of the students have not received anything.

The incident comes just days before the students start writing their end of year examinations on Monday next week.

Mzuni Senior Assistant Registrar Yonamu Ngwira said there is nothing they can do on the matter because they have no received any communication from Malawi Savings Bank.

He however said “the university authorities will map the way forward” after their meeting to be held on Thursday.

The demonstrations come barely two months after the students also went amok in anger of the university’s failure to give them their tuition and book allowances for over a year.

Last year, government dissolved the Public University Students Loans Trust and instead mandated MSB in January this year to be processing the loans.

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