UNZA student dies of suffocation after police burn down hostel

A fourth year UNZA student has died of suffocation after police burnt one of the hostels using a teargas canister.

According to one o the male students who rushed her to the hospital, the female student, Vesper Shimuzhila, was pronounced dead upon arrival at Levy Mwanawasa General Hospital.

“After she suffocated, we put her in the vehicle and took her to UNZA clinic, they tried to resuscitate her but it’s like the clinic officer didn’t want to tell her us she said we take her to Levy. So at Levy that’s where we were told that this person is gone already,” narrated the student.

“So then the mortuary was full and we were sent to UTH, that’s where the body is.”

And police spokesperson Esther Mwaata Katongo confirmed Shimuzhila’s death in a statement, adding that another female student was still admitted in hospital.

“Students at the University of Zambia yesterday, 04th October, 2018 at about 22 00 hours staged a riot where they blocked the Great East Road and destroyed booths within the area. Officers from Lusaka Division rushed to calm the situation but due to the volatile situation, reinforcement was sought from Paramilitary Battalion and officers managed to restore order at about 01 00 hours. As officers were keeping vigil around the campus, information was received that parts of October Hostel was on fire and that a fourth year female student in the School of Education and another who is a second year student aged 20 years had suffocated and were rushed to the clinic at the Campus and later to Levy Mwanawasa Hospital and unfortunately the fourth year student died while the other student is still admitted,” stated Katongo.

“The cause of the fire is yet to be established. Police officers have continued patrolling the campus and keeping vigil. The situation is currently normal.”

Last night, a multitude of University of Zambia students blocked Great East Road protesting against a delay by government to pay them their semester meal allowances.

According to students who sought anonymity, the institution was supposed to pay them their meal allowances in August.

“In August they only gave us half of the meal allowances, they said the rest we would get in September but nothing has happened up to now,” the students explained to News Diggers.

“So here the students have blocked Great East, no vehicles are allowed to pass or they willl be stoned. Right now, they have burnt tyres and singing. They want their money.”

A check by News Diggers at about 23:20 hours found police arriving at the scene while the students were retreating into the campus.

Around 01:30, Zambia Police officers burnt a hostel block which houses female UNZA students.

The police officers were pursuing irate students towards the new residence, continued firing teargas and in the process, one of the blocks at October hostels caught fire.

The female students, who hid in the block, scampered in all directions as others fell down and injured themselves.

Despite burning a hostel, police continued firing teargas canisters at the students who gathered to rescue their colleagues who were still in the block.

Around 02:00, two fire trucks of the Lusaka City Council were seen driving to the scene, escorted by police vehicles.

But by the time the fire trucks arrived, students had managed to put out the fire.

Around 02:30, UNZA Vice Chancellor Professor Luke Mumba rushed to the scene to witness the incidence and managed to calm the students down as police officers watched in shock.

         

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