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TWENTY-FIVE pupils at Serenje Boys Secondary School and a teacher have been arrested for staging a riot in the early hours of yesterday.
The pupils started rioting around 01:00 hours and looted the school’s storeroom to protest against poor food.
The teacher, only identified as a Mr Bwalya, was picked up in connection with a container of cooking oil found in his house, which is suspected to have been among the goods that pupils looted from the storeroom.
Central Province police commissioner Standwell Lungu and provincial minister Philip Kosamu confirmed the riot and the arrest of the pupils in separate interviews yesterday.
The pupils burnt the school’s administration block, the office of the deputy head teacher and accounts department. They also damaged the office of the head teacher.
Mr Lungu said important documents, computers and cash were destroyed in the buildings the pupils set on fire.
He said the 25 pupils and their teacher were in police custody in Serenje yesterday while two suspected ring leaders are on the run.
“The pupils are in police custody and they are likely to be charged as soon as we finish our investigations,” Mr Lungu said.
And Mr Kosamu regretted the actions of the pupils, saying if they had any grievances they should have engaged the school authorities rather than resorting to rioting and burning the school infrastructure.
Mr Kosamu, who is Serenje Central member of Parliament, said the pupils also broke window panes at the school.
“They started the riot around 01:00 hours [on Sunday] and they also destroyed property. I am at the scene right now [around 10:15 hours]. We are still trying to put out the fire at the administration block,” Mr Kosamu said.
He warned the pupils against rioting, saying such criminal acts will not be condoned because property worth thousands of Kwacha has been destroyed.