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Ntungamo school suspends 81 students over age limit clashes

A section of the school

Muntuyera high school in Ntungamo district has suspended 81 students following ethnic clashes between senior four and senior five students that pitted Bahima and those of Rwandan origin. 

The school head teacher, Stephen Atuhaire, says the clashes originated from discussions on the proposed amendment of the presidential age limit. He says the discussions that started on Friday last week split the students into two rival groups.

One of the groups argued in favour of the proposal while the other opposed the move. According to Atuhaire, on Tuesday night senior four students assaulted their senior five colleagues leading to serious clashes. At least six students were injured in the clashes.

He explains that the senior five students held a meeting outside the school premises and planned a revenge attack but they were stopped by the heavy police deployment in and around the school. 

He says following their aborted move, the students retreated to bars in Rwashameire town council where they planned another attack on their colleagues on Wednesday morning. They also allegedly planned to burn down the school.
 
Atuhaire, however, says that when the students stormed the dormitories, they found them empty and decided to raid examination rooms but met stiff residents from their senior four colleagues and police.

To stem the tension, the school management decided to suspend the entire senior five class. However, the group was ambushed by their senior four colleagues who were armed with sticks in Rwahsameire town council leading to fresh clashes.
 
He says the school administration took the decision to send away all senior five students to allow the senior four candidates to complete their examinations in a peaceful environment. 

Atuhaire blames the clashes on indiscipline, saying some students always fear to sit the south Ankole diocese examinations, which are scheduled for next week. He says police have also launched investigations into the clashes, saying the culprits will be brought to book. 

Politics is always part of the student's discussions at Muntuyera high school, which is named after the father of the Forum for Democratic Change party president, Gen Mugisha Muntu, who donated a huge chunk of land to the school.

© 2016 Observer Media Ltd