Cops nab 16 Keembe pupils

IRATE pupils at Kafushe High School in Keembe Constituency in Chibombo ran riot in the early hours of yesterday, burning a house belonging to the deputy school head teacher and destroying windowpanes in all the classrooms.

All the property in the deputy head teacher’s house was burnt to ashes, and by yesterday afternoon, 16 pupils had been arrested and detained to help the police with investigations.

The enraged pupils also burnt the school’s light truck, the tuck shop, damaged school computers and two vehicles – one belonging to the head teacher and the other to another teacher.

Chibombo district commissioner Philip Chabakale, district education board secretary Margaret Banda and Central Province police commanding officer Stella Libongani confirmed the unrest in separate interviews.

Mr Chabakale said preliminary investigations into the cause of the riot revealed that the pupils were angry that they have not benefited from the shool’s purchase of a Toyota Coaster minibus because the vehicle spends a lot of time in the garage for repairs.

The bus was bought at a cost of K81 million in October last year.

“The pupils went on rampage and destroyed property worth millions of Kwacha. They set fire to the deputy head teacher’s house destroying all the property. They destroyed windowpanes to all the 14 classrooms,” Mr Chabakale said.

He condemned the action by the pupils, saying even if they were aggrieved, destroying school and personal property was not the right way of airing their grievances.

Mr Chabakale said the 16 pupils who were rounded up after police rushed to the school were in police custody at Prospect police station in Kabwe.

And Mrs Banda, who rushed to the school, said it was unfortunate that the pupils resolved to riot when they could have found better ways of expressing themselves.

Mrs Banda said although the school has not been closed, she is saddened by the actions of the pupils and the damage to property.

Mrs Banda said police have been deployed at the school to maintain law and order and continue with investigations into the fracas.

And Ms Libongani, who referred the matter to police spokesperson NdandulaSiamana, confirmed that police are holding 16 pupils in connection with the riot.
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