THAMAGA: After engaging police for the whole day, the striking students of Thamaga Secondary School, Letlole Mosielele Secondary School and some pupils from local primary schools headed for Member of Parliament (MP) Rev Dr John Seakgosing’s Constituency office, leaving a trail of destruction.
Dr Seakgosing is the Minister of Health. The students went on rampage after being told to go home following an announcement by Minister of Education and Skills Development, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi that the schools should be closed.
Students of the two local secondary schools and primary school became uncontrollable, singing struggle songs, and taunting the police who had been keeping an eye on them since the announcement midmorning. The situation got out of hand after the riot police failed to disperse them from the roads and shops. The students started throwing stones and bottles at the police, who returned fire with teargas and rubber bullets. After only a few minutes the roads were littered with broken pieces of glass and stones, making it difficult for motorists to travel. When the police realised that the students had outnumbered them, they retreated to the police station, with the students in hot pursuit. At the station the students continued throwing stones and bottles, breaking windows, cars, and forcing police officers to run for cover. A few windows were broken but no officer was injured.
The police started firing teargas again and rubber bullets into the air, forcing the students to scatter and run into the nearby forest and passages in the village. Meanwhile, the police reinforced and boarded two riot vehicles and stayed on one spot observing the situation. At one stage the students tried to join the workers who were gathered under a tree near the Thamaga Primary Hospital, but the workers were not prepared for the invited guests and kindly asked them to leave. The students went back to the road to continue their battle with the police.
By 5.30pm the students were still engaged in the cat-and-mouse game with police but the situation was under control. At least three police vehicles and three other private vehicles were damaged, while two students were arrested and later released, said a police officer whose name cannot be revealed, as he is not authorised to speak to the media. The station commander, superintendent Ntamba refused to speak to the Mmegi team saying he had no time for press interviews.