Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) yesterday closed its Natural Resources College (NRC) Campus following protests over its decision to hike fees by 45 percent.
About 20 students were arrested during the protests that started on Tuesday night.
During The Nation’s visit to the campus, established that the irate learners destroyed school property, stoned passers-by and blocked roads with burning motor vehicle tyres.
This forced the university management to close the campus indefinitely.
A letter dated September 21 2016 signed by Launar registrar Phillip Kaonda ordered all students to vacate the NRC campus by 5 O’clock in the evening of the same day.
Reads the letter in part: “Please be advised that in view of the illegal strike by NRC students which has resulted in damaging university property, Council of the University has closed NRC Campus effective today, 21 September, 2016. All students are, therefore, requested to leave the premises by 5pm today, 21 September, 2016.”
Lilongwe Police Station spokesperson Kingsley Dandaula confirmed that there was unrest at the school, which prompted the police to calm the situation.
He said by mid-afternoon yesterday, the police had arrested at least 26 students suspected of taking part in conduct likely to cause breach of peace, among other charges.
This was the first time Luanar students have staged a strike due to fees issues.
Last month, University of Malawi (Unima) students staged protests to force government to reverse a decision to raise their fees. Luanar’s main campus is at Bunda.
Unima pegged the new fees structure for generic students from K55 000 to K400 000, K275 000 to K400 000 and K275 000 to K900 000 for mature entry students.
Later, following a prolonged impasse, President Peter Mutharika met the student leaders in Lilongwe where he announced a K50 000 reduction in the new fees.