Police in Moshopa are investigating a case in which three teachers’ quarters at Manyana Primary School were set on fire by unknown arsonists in the early hours of Saturday.
Moshopa Police Station Commander, Assistant Superintendent Michael Maphephu, said goods worth P3,060 were destroyed in the two houses while the third was unoccupied. “We suspect that the motive was not to steal because they had ample time to do so.
The motive might have been to intentionally damage government property,” Maphephu said, explaining further that they have not yet arrested anyone in connection with the fire and are appealing to the public for information that might lead to the arrest of the perpetrators.
Teachers, who are not taking part in the ongoing nationwide public service strike, reportedly occupied the affected houses. Arriving at the scene where the strong smell of paraffin and burnt items lingered in the houses, The Monitor crew found that most of the windows around the houses had been broken, while holes big enough to allow someone to pour paraffin inside houses were visible.
It is speculated that the thugs then set the houses ablaze through the holes in the windows but the curtains failed to catch fire to cause enough damage, as intended. In one of the houses only a plastic chair next to the window was burnt, while the bed on the other side of the room was intact. In the second house, a mattress, blankets and clothes in the children’s room were destroyed.
The occupant of one of the houses was reported to have gone for a “weekend out” in Gaborone and her teenage son had spent the night in the neighbour’s house. “I can’t help but shudder at what could have happened if the boy had preferred to sleep alone in the house when his mother was not home,” said Rosemary Difemo, a teacher at the school where the neighbours’ son always spends his nights when the mother is away.
She revealed that most villagers have been bitter with government authorities since the schools were closed a week ago and that the environment is still tense. “Anyone could have done it,” she said adding that the teachers, who are not participating in the strike, have been living in fear of students from the senior and junior schools that joined the protests last week. ”
There are too many students idling in the village and we fear that the students, who were protesting in their respective schools and are here might even harass all of us. Right now we are asking ourselves if the situation will not repeat itself or even get worse, as someone could easily get killed in these kind of attacks,” she said as she moved around the yard.
According to acting school head Thandie Lesole, the night watchman who had seen the flames from his sentry point woke her up at 2.15am. “I thought I would see the whole house on fire but it became clear that the fire was coming from inside.
We called the neighbours and put out the fire by using water we carried in the buckets,” she said. Lesole who, was becoming emotional as she talked, said the two teachers earlier on came to see the damage and collected the few belongings they could carry. One of the affected teachers is reported to be on maternity leave.