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Makerere student mysteriously dies in her room at University Hall of Residence

Kampala, (UG): The entire fraternity at Makerere University has been engulfed in shock after a female student mysteriously died inside her room at one of the university halls of residence.

Patricia Ochola Erik, a student from the College of Education and External Studies pursuing a Bachelor of Arts with Education was found dead on Thursday morning at Africa Hall inside the country’s oldest University.

Ochola, a daughter to a retired police officer Christ Otim Erik from Otuke District was in her first year and waiting to sit her end-of-second-semester exams next week.

Whereas the university management suggested that Ochola died on arrival at the university hospital, students and close friends say she died in the night and by the time she was taken to the hospital, she was already dead.

Sharifah Kiranda, who is one of the students residing at Africa Hall, says she learned about Ochola’s death yesterday morning. “She died in the night and by the time she was taken to the hospital she had already passed on,” Sharifah stated, adding that Ochola had epilepsy, a condition that she thinks could have been the cause of her death.

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“At around 7 am, I was at my block opposite Patricia’s and I saw people moving up and down. When I asked my colleague who was coming from there, she told me that there was a student who had died in the room. By the time I reached there, the place was already a no-go zone area,” said another resident, who preferred anonymity to this report.

“I heard from students that her roommates also learned about it in the morning after they had tried to wake her up. When her roommates saw her condition, they immediately called their colleagues and warden who also called the ambulance to take her to the university hospital but she had already died,” the student added.

Ms Grace Nalugya Kabuye, the Warden of the Africa Hall, also confirmed the deceased might have succumbed to epilepsy. “The relatives have intimated to us a history of epilepsy and that she was on treatment. We grieve with the family and pray for the soul of the deceased to rest in peace,” she said in her November 30 condolence letter addressed to students.

Ms Winifred Kabumbuli, the Dean of Students, in her condolence message to her family, said: “She was an industrious student and very active at her college where she was the coordinator of her literature class.”

The institution’s Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, also joined the mourners and extended his condolences to the family and students.

“Death has robbed a promising leader. I pray that her soul will rest in peace,” Prof Nawangwe said in an interview with this publication.

The institution’s guild president Mr Robert Maseruka, conveyed his condolence message to the students’ fraternity and the family.

“It’s on such a sad note and as we prepare to sit our exams we have lost such a soul in her first year. In this trying moment, we stand in solidarity with friends and family. We pray that God may strengthen them. May the soul of the gallant Makererean rest in peace,” he said.

The university however said they await a postmortem report from Mulago Hospital to ascertain the cause of her death.

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By press time, the family was already making preparations to get the body from Mulago hospital to Barjobi sub-county in Otuke District for burial arrangements.

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