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Students smash property worth M1m

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Ntsebeng Motsoeli

ROMA — Students at Bishop Allard Vocational School in Roma went on the rampage on Thursday destroying property worth M1 million after school authorities delayed their examinations.

The school’s principal, ‘Mafaku Faku, told the Sunday Express on Friday that a group of students smashed property with stones before setting ablaze the administration block and teacher’s hostels.

“They destroyed everything. Property worth close to M1 million was burnt. We don’t know what we are going to do,” Faku said.

Property including computers, a printing machine, industrial sewing machines, a hatchery machine and other machinery was reduced to ashes.

Senior Superintendant Seturumane Seturumane of the Maseru Rural Police confirmed the incident yesterday.

He said nine students were taken in for questioning but were later released.

Police are now looking for five other students who are suspected to have been behind the riot but have since returned to their homes.

“We have their names and we are still in the process of locating them.

“However it is difficult to find were they stay now that the school records were burnt in the fire,” Seturumane said.

When this paper arrived at the school on Friday there were no students at the campus.

The students went on the rampage after they failed to sit for an Intermediate Home Science final exam on Wednesday morning.

“They failed to write on Wednesday because we received the examination papers late from the Technical and Vocational Department (TVD) in the Ministry of Education and Training.

“So we informed the students that they would only be able to sit for the examination the following morning (Thursday),” Faku said.

She added that the following morning the students demanded to see the question papers before they could sit for the exam.

“But I could not allow that because it is not allowed by the ministry’s regulations,” she said.

Faku said she was still at her house on Thursday morning when she heard students singing at the top of their voices.

“I went there and called for calm. I then led a prayer and asked the students to go to their respective classes so that the examination could begin,” she said.

“That is when some students demanded that I show them the question paper to see if it was the same as the one students at another vocational school had written the previous day.

“I refused to show them the paper and as I was turning away they started throwing stones at me and later the classrooms and offices,” Faku said.

She said she called Roma police and while they were waiting for the police’s arrival they noticed that a fire had broken out at her houses.

She added that she and some teachers battled to put out the fire but they soon realised that another fire had also been started at one of the teacher’s house.

“He lost everything in the fire.”

Faku said the students also torched the school’s administration block.

The school is yet to set a new date for the examinations.

She added that they had since called a meeting with the students’ parents on Tuesday to map the way forward.

“We will have a parents meeting on Tuesday. We want to give students who want to learn a chance,” she said.

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