News24

19 striking students freed in Gabon

2012-06-15 22:09

Libreville - Nineteen students who tried to halt courses at the Omar Bongo University (UOB) in Gabon have been released after being held in police cells, student and legal sources said Friday.

"We're released on bail," Firmin Ollo, one of the leaders of the detained students said. Each of the students is to appear before a judge next week.

Four students were freed during the day on Thursday and the others were released at the end of the evening.

"They are accused of disturbing the peace and are called before the judge next week, some on Monday and others on Tuesday and Wednesday," the lawyer for the students, Gisele Eyue Bekale, said.

The students were arrested on Monday while trying to disrupt teaching at the university in Libreville, where many students have been on strike since January to back calls for grants and an end to the age limit of 27 for eligibility for funds.

The strike action has led to several clashes with the security forces.

One student witness, Celestin Mito-Mito, said that "some of the arrested students turned themselves in".

The detention conditions of the 19 drew the attention of opposition figures and human rights activists in the central African country, who published photos of 12 students held in a single small cell on social networking websites.