A midnight campus riot at the Sandema Senior High Technical School has claimed one life and led to the collapse of a female student, reports say.
A student, whose name was only mentioned to Starr News as Nashiru, reportedly was hit in the chest by one of the stray bullets flying from the barrels of a police team dispatched to restore calm when the unrest broke out around 11:30pm Tuesday at the boarding school.
Sources say he died from bullet wounds at a district hospital in Sandema where another female student who collapsed during the unrest for reasons yet to be established is under an emergency watch.
An emergency District Security Council (DISEC) meeting has been scheduled for this morning, according to the Builsa North District Chief Executive, David Afoko.
“We are about to have a DISEC meeting. I just returned from the school. I went to see the situation for myself. The students are gathered. From the way things are, we want to take a decision and get back to them,” the DCE told Starr News minutes ago.
Starr News learns the chaos went bang after some students put up resistance when some members of the school’s cadet corps ordered them to go to bed. The turmoil saw the clashing students hurl stones, chase one another with machetes and wreak havoc on school property by setting vehicles and buildings on fire.
“The tension is still there. This DISEC meeting is going to be a very short one. We want to prevent any further disaster,” said the DCE. “The headmaster will come and explain. The police will also say their part. Then, we will take a decision,” he added.
Peace Council Condemns Riot
The National Peace Council, a peace-building organisation credited with establishing peace clubs in some second-cycle schools so far to curb campus unrest in the region, has condemned the latest student riot at Sandema.
“Any form of violence is condemnable. We know that there is no conflict that cannot be resolved. In a school where there is a school management and there is a students’ representative council, there is no way a conflict cannot be discussed and resolved.
“The resort to violence is always the wrong move. No matter the reason for the riot, there is always an opportunity for a peaceful way of resolving it. We will wait for details to know what kind of advice we will give on the situation,” the Upper East Regional Secretary of the National Peace Council, Ali Anankpieng, stated on Wednesday.
The region saw violent protests in no fewer than 14 of its 20 public second-cycle institutions between 2014 and 2016. The schools involved include the Awe Senior High Technical School, the Bawku Senior High School, the Bolgatanga Senior High School, the Bolgatanga Technical Institute, the Fumbisi Senior High Agric School, the Gowrie Senior High School and the Kongo Senior High School.
The rest are the Navrongo Senior High School, the Sandema Senior High School, the Sandema Senior High Technical School, the Sirigu Integrated Senior High School, the Zamse Senior High Technical School, the Zebilla Senior High School and the Zuarungu Senior High School.
In 2017, at least two violent demonstrations flared up just two months apart in the region— at the Zuarungu Senior High School in July and the Bolgatanga Senior High School in October. Also in May, 2018, the Navrongo Senior High School was shut down indefinitely over a hunger-strike protest waged by students over an alleged unfair treatment by a dining-hall master. More student-riot cases were recorded between the middle of 2018 and June, this year, in Navrongo and Bolgatanga before the latest upheaval came up at Sandema.