‘Rebels’ At UL
Memories of rebel activities once more returned to the minds of hundreds of Monrovians when students of the University of Liberia engaged each other in violent street-battles.
Since last week, students who find themselves in the Student Unification Party or SUP and a Coalition of the Students Integration Movement or SIM and Students Democratic Alliance or STUDA have been engaged in violent ‘running battles’ on the Fendell and main campuses of the University, as well as the streets in a bid to subdue each other in the wake of the ongoing campus politics.
As if there is no guidance, in terms of the presence of the authorities of the University, members of the campus-based political parties continue to exhibit the attitudes of ‘rebels’, brutally attacking and throwing stones at perceived associates of the other, as well as journalists, visitors and other innocent students.
The rebel-styled riots even disrupted normal campus and academic activities on Thursday as if that institution was not the bedrock of intellectualism, reminding others of Liberia’s war years.
The ruling Student Unification Party or SUP barricaded the main entrance of the UL auditorium, disallowing a presidential debate with the opposition SIM-STUDA Coalition or COSS.
Thursday’s violence erupted as a result of “bitter exchanges”, accompanied by ‘stone-throwing’ among supporters of the two parties. Supporters of the coalition (COSS) brutally attacked our reporter, destroying his camera beyond recognition on grounds that they did not want their ‘rebel activities’ to be photographed.
The reporter was capturing the destruction of the SUP Flag by rioters of the coalition who were chanting victory after temporarily chasing the ruling party (SUP) out of the main campus at about 1pm. The riot further intensified following the return of a reinforced contingent of SUP.
The ruling party is reported to have tactically avoided the debate with opposition presidential candidate Daniel P. Charles and his running mate on grounds that they were both break-away officials of the UL student leadership or ULSU.
They were perceived as possible and serious threat to the candidate of the ruling Student Unification Party, Patrick Sowah. The debates, however, were never held yesterday, while polls were postponed pending investigation. Police on Wednesday arrested ten students following another bloody encounter between SUP and COSS.
Police Spokesman George Bardue named the ‘rebel’ students arrested as Isaac Williams, George Sallay, Gayflor Flomo, Clifford Nyenpan and George Yokaneh. Other are Prince Magbenie, Emmanuel Gbawaquinga, RawlinJardia and Morris Bamba.
They were reportedly involved in Wednesday’s riot that injured several other students and onlookers, and damaged three moving vehicles. Except for the victory of Independent Candidate Kwame Clement in 1981, SUP has dominated UL Campus politics for the 40 years as the ruling establishment.