Tension over police on campus, after student death

The student federation FESCI at the Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, have demanded the removal of riot police from the campus, saying they feared for their safety after the accidental death of a disabled student who was hit by a police vehicle.

But FESCI members were themselves reportedly responsible for nearly ‘lynching’ the higher education minister during the period of mourning.

Roland Allaba, a first year economics student, was killed on 17 June. The incident added to tension at the university, with students saying they felt unsafe since police had moved to the campus some weeks previously, reported

Alla Tingrain, joint general secretary of FESCI, told that during May police officers had raped women students and taken away computers. said that the police had left the university after Allaba’s death, but a few days later, after a period of mourning, FESCI called on students to evacuate the university in protest when police were seen on the campus, which Tingrain said violated university rules.

During the period of mourning Professor Bakayoko Ly Ramata, the higher education and scientific research minister, was attacked during a visit to the university where she went with two other ministers to take part in a student march to mark Allaba’s death, reported Le Patriote of Abidjan.

After she had laid a wreath, members of FESCI started throwing stones and, said Le Patriote, she narrowly escaped being ‘lynched’. She was taken to safety by her bodyguards.

An official from the university president’s office told Le Patriote that since the police had left “we have no more security. There are no police. There are security guards now keeping the campus safe. At any moment members of FESCI can attack us.”

* This article is drawn from local media. University World News cannot vouch for the accuracy of the original reports.