UBSU Remembers Black Thursday in UB

Today November 29,2012 has been observed as Black Thursday in the University of Buea by the University of Buea Students Union,UBSU.This is in commemoration of some of its leaders who died during the deadly strike in 2005 and 2006 between Police forces.The Black Thursday is observed with all students expected to wear black cloths to school.

At least two university students were shot and killed, and a third may have been mortally wounded after clashing with police at the University of Buea . The deaths came after sporadic confrontation between students and police during strikes that began on a fateful Wednesday, following by one week mostly peaceful strikes which began April 20 at another Cameroon university, Yaoundé One. A delegation of five students is said to have traveled from Yaoundé One to UB, instigating the strike at the second university.

The aftermath of the strike left two dead

The strikes at UB turned violent after the then University Registrar, Herbert Nganjo Endeley, failed to calm the students. Police tried to disperse the students with tear gas, but were pelted by stones in retaliation. Chaos ensued, with the police also throwing stones, bludgeoning and separating the students, turning water cannons on them, raiding their residence hostels, and performing numerous arrests. The students responded by protesting, erecting barricades and destroying school property and vehicles. Several students and police were hospitalized during days of fighting.

The students were shot on Thursday in different incidents between 14:30 and 15:00 local time in Molyko — both were reported to be killed instantly. One student, Embwam Aloysius, a level 400 student of Environmental Science, received a bullet in the head, while the other student, Gilbert Nforlem, a masters degree Geology student, was shot in the chest. Local news reports indicated a female student may also have been killed, and claim that the students were shot by police. Speaking on state-run radio, Higher Education Minister Jacques Fame Ndongo called for an end to violence and said that “[President Paul Biya] has requested a judicial enquiry to establish the exact cause of the deaths.”

That year student at both UNI Yoaunde I and UB were striking for better educational conditions. The students at UB demanded an end to the annual school fees of 50,000 CFA Francs (US$99), reduction of school bureaucracy, and other amenities. According to the Post newspaper in Cameroon, “They want all courses offered during the re-sit, good toilets, more lecture halls, microphones in amphi-theatres; that amphi 750 should be changed to 650 because it lacks 100 seats. They also want to be offered good food at the University restaurant among others.”

Some commentators in the Post’s online forum expressed indignation at the deaths of the students and what they perceive as a lack of leadership by school officials, while others expressed sorrow at the loss of student lives and questioned whether the advantages they are bargaining for are really worth the price they have paid.

Invasion of hostels.
Police invaded hostels like Kiki, Mengweh, Monte Carlos in the University Neighbourhood. They beat up students, seized their mobile phones and looted other property. The police poured water on the flour and asked the students to sit on it.

A student told The Post the police broke into her room and took away money. Many students sustained arm, elbow and knee injuries.Five of the students were hospitalized. One of them said to be in a comma.

The Strike.

A group of students mobilised and went from one lecture hall to the other, ordering their mates to abandon their lectures; they sent away their lecturers and mobilized. Gradually, the group increased in number and by 9:00am there was a crowd of students on campus carrying leaves chanting, “UB must change”.

The students marched to the UB restaurant, where a lecture was going on, in the open hall. They chased out the lecturer, overturned the benches saying it was not fit to be a lecture hall. They sacked the University restaurant, leaving behind a real mess.

The students carried placards on which they had written “We want all courses in the re-sit”, “better means of publishing SMS results”, “No payment of Fees”, “Njeuma UB is not your house” “50.000 before we go for games”, among others.

The students took to the University Junction and disrupted traffic and there they met the police. They Shouted, “No Police” “no dialogue” “we are tired of promises”. The police tried to pamper the students so they could reach a compromise, but it was to no avail.

The March to Jerusalem

They marched back into the campus, went to the central administration and, in the presence of the then Registrar, Herbert Endeley, who had been trying to dialogue with them, Dr. Victor Ngoh, Dean of Faculty of Arts and Dr. John Ebanja, one of the Deputy Vice Deans, the students screamed, “Njeuma must go”.

Some of the students went hitting the windows of the building with the leaves they were carrying, while others tried to flatten the tires of a tractor that was packed in front of the Central Administration.

by Nfor Hanson Nchanji with reports.

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