Mochudi Choppies shop and Shoppers shop were looted by rioting students yesterday afternoon, while burning tyres, and flaming dustbins along the roads were the order of the day. Officer commanding, Seabe Maboka said they are holding several rioters for questioning but did not disclose the number immediately.
The riots forced several shops in Mochudi including the Shell Filling station to close down as early as 3pm yesterday for security reasons. Riot Police guarded the filling station yesterday amidst rumours that the pupils were planning to set it on fire. By 6pm however riot police in the village had been reinforced by more armed police officers, while trucks loaded with armed soldiers were seen arriving at the Mochudi Police headquarters.
The riot police used loud speakers warning Mochudi residents, who lined the Mochudi mall road, to disperse within an hour or face the consequences. Within 30 minutes of massive riot police presence on Mochudi roads, the crowd had disappeared significantly, but trucks loaded with riot police and soldiers could still be seen moving up and down the Mochudi roads.
The riot police officers were seen guarding strategic buildings such as District Council Premises, and shops adjacent to the roads. Officer commanding Maboka however downplayed the effects of the rioters saying they had the situation under control. He blamed the riots on Molefhi Senior Secondary School students who started mobilising the rest of the schools to join them in demonstrations at around 2pm.
Maboka says the rioters also wanted to go and join the striking public servants at Rovers grounds. Molefhi Senior School students, determined to increase the numbers of protesting students, had targetted junior secondary schools, Radikolo and Lentswe CJSS, who also joined the riots yesterday.
According to one of the teachers at Radikolo she was not aware of what was happening outside until students she was teaching started crying. “Then out of the blue there was so much noise in the school and these students from Molefhi called the junior students out,” she said.
After a few minutes, the rioters left with half of the Radikolo Junior School population. At Lentswe Junior Secondary School however, the students were waiting for them. A few minutes after entering the school premises, they came back with the whole school population and marched to the assembly point of the public service employees on strike singing, “re tsile go le thusa ntwa.”