General News of Tuesday, 5 December 2017
Another student riot has rocked the Upper East region at the Fumbisi Senior High Agric School with a mass arrest of as many as 28 boarding students believed to have taken part in the upheaval.
Eleven students, some of whom fainted and sustained serious injuries during a stampede, were rushed to the Fumbisi District Hospital.
The unrest, said to have been triggered by delayed supper, comes a month after angry students at the Bolgatanga Senior High School (Big Boss) ravaged property worth thousands of Ghana cedis on campus over the “needless” death of a schoolmate.
The latest turmoil erupted Sunday night after supper, which was scheduled for 5:30pm, was delayed as cooks were still frying some fish to supplement a meal of kenkey and pepper for the boarders.
Some students claimed the occasion was not the first time supper was taken too late on campus. They felt it was time they rejected further excuses from the cooks and the school’s management. And they called for a general boycott of the meal in protest against persistent delays in serving them.
But the boycott calls were thrown away by some students when the cooks brought into the dining hall parts of the fish being fried at the kitchen so that some could start taking their meal whilst the others would wait until the rest of the fish were ready. The division resulted in chaos inside the dining hall as those who maintained their boycott posture hurled stones at their compromised mates and got rocks in return.
Members of REGSEC stormed the school after the riot
The night anarchy deepened when some students, amid flying stones, broke into the school’s food store, made away with tons of stuffs, caught several stray animals on the compound and ran after teachers with stones and sticks. The cooks also were not spared a pitiless share of the stone-throwing violence that lasted for hours until armed police officers arrived to crush the demonstration. Whilst the officers were making arrests everywhere, several students fled the campus, hopping into any vehicles they could find to leave the area.
The development was a replay of what students did in similar circumstances some time ago at the Navrongo Senior High School (NAVASCO) where a teacher, who had just washed his hands to take his supper after a tiring day, fled the dining table half-dressed with his wife when he heard the sounds of the drumming feet of some bare-chested schoolboys approaching his official bungalow. The rioting students sat at the table, ate his food like their own and left to rejoin their campus comrades in a violent rally that ended with mass arrests.
Teachers behind Chaos to be Transferred— Regional Minister
The Upper East Regional Minister and Chairman of the Regional Security Council (REGSEC), Rockson Ayine Bukari, raced to the school Monday.
He was convoyed by the Upper East Regional Police Commander, DCOP Vincent Redeemer Dedjoe, the Upper East Regional Director of Education, Patricia Ayiko, and the District Chief Executive (DCE) for Builsa South, Daniel Gariba.
Some teachers were reported to have influenced the students to stage the rebellion. The Regional Minister, after holding a meeting with the staff of the school, told the Regional Director of Education to set up an inquiry to ascertain the facts in the matter. He asked her to transfer the alleged masterminds if found culpable as part of some steps he said the school, which saw similar disturbances last year, needed to take to enjoy lasting peace. The minister also met with remnants of the student body and highlighted the adverse toll of campus unrest on their lessons and, ultimately, on their future.
“But as we speak, calm has returned to the school. All the teachers are at post. I passed there this morning and everything was going as expected. Calm has returned to the school,” the Builsa South DCE told Starr News in a telephone interview Tuesday.
The Regional Minister meets with remnants of the student body
Police Fired Warning Shots and Students Collapsed— Eyewitness
Like helpless survivors going through a wreckage morning after a midnight disaster had struck a whole community, authorities at the school are still counting the losses incurred by the disturbances.
From a glass students’ notice board, a 32-inch-wide television set, several louvres, doors, windows, a police commander’s car, a police station officer’s siren, countless roofing sheets, the headmaster’s office, the school’s motorised tricycle to several electric bulbs, the student inflicted a scale of havoc the like of which the school has never seen before.
“At 7:00pm, the food was not ready for us. At that time, we were supposed to be in classroom for preps. This is not the first time. It happens all the time. We can take lunch at 4:00pm when we are supposed to take it at 2:00pm. As the police were giving the warning bullets, the students, especially the females, collapsed. That is how some of them were taken to the hospital,” a student told Tanga Radio, a popular media house in the region’s capital, Bolgatanga.
Riots struck 14 of the 20 public second-cycle schools in the region between 2014 and 2016 alone, according to the Regional Peace Council who has been touring schools across the region to establish peace clubs with a task to help curb campus riots.