Ugandan Students Confined To University Campus As Egyptian Crisis Escalates

Ugandan students in Egypt are reportedly confined to their university campus to protect them from the escalating violence in the country. There are more than 300 Ugandan students at Al-Azahar University, which is found in the Egyptian capital Cairo. 

Hundreds of Egyptians have been killed in the clashes between supporters and opponents of Mohamed Morsi, since his ouster.
Hundreds of Egyptians have been killed in the clashes between supporters and opponents of Mohamed Morsi, since his ouster.

The students are pursuing various studies in the fields of medicine, education, engineering and Islamic studies amongst others. In October this year, 25 other students won scholarships to study at the same university. However, their travel was delayed as a result of insecurity following the arrest of Mohammad Mursi, the president of Egypt and leader of Muslim brotherhood.

Sheikh Ali Hassan, the Al-Azahar University representative in Uganda says the Egyptian government has deployed special police to guard Al-Azahar University against any attack. He says as a result of assured security at the university, the students are taking their studies safely but are not allowed to go out of the university. Sheikh Umar Sserunjoji, the Principal of Abdul Noor Islamic Center, which contributed 12 students to on the scholarship program, says both the Egyptian Embassy in Kampala and Ugandan embassy in Egypt have approved the travel of new students after reinforcing security at the universities.

He says he has now communicated to the students adding that, they are expected to fly to Egypt to kick start their studies. Sserunjoji explains that the Ugandan Embassy officials had visited the universities and found the security of Ugandan students assured. He says although there is increased security, no student is allowed to go out of the university. He claims that all the students get food, medical services and other supplies within the university premises.

Abdul Latif Mutebi, Abdul Salaam Kakooza and Jamilah Nalubega are some of the 25 Ugandan students cleared to go and study in Egypt. They are expected to fly out of the country this week. Despite the fact that they have spent several months without knowing when they will travel, they are excited but fear the security situation in Egypt would affect their studies.

Mutebi says he is ready to go and pursue Islamic Studies in Egypt after failing to understand the Ugandan English-based curriculum. Musa Wamala, a parent to one of the children faults the African Union for failing to resolve the Egyptian Crisis. He says the failure to resolve the crisis is threatening the progress Egypt had made in terms of infrastructural development since many buildings have been set ablaze in Cairo and Alexandria.

He also says the increased insecurity will have an impact on Uganda since her students study from insecure universities.

At the weekend, three prominent Egyptian activists were jailed for engineering the 2011 uprising which toppled Hosni Mubarak’s government. Ahmed Maher, Ahmed Douma and Mohamed Adel were found guilty of organizing a recent unauthorized protest and were jailed three years triggering fresh tension.

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