Vandalism on KNUST campus: Police chase 62 students… secure bench warrant for arrest of suspects

The Judicial Unit of the Ashanti Regional Police Command has secured a bench warrant for the arrest of 62 students of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in connection with vandalism on the campus, last Thursday. 

The Asokore Mampong District Court, presided over by Mr Samuel Quansah Buabeng, issued the bench warrant, on Wednesday, when two of the students were brought before it, charged with rioting and causing harm.

They were named as Daniel OseiBonsu, an alumnus and Francis Tutu Atuahene, a Level 200 student of the university. 

Their pleas were not taken and they would re-appear before the court on September 8, after a push for their bail by lawyers was shot down by the court.

Head of Legal and Prosecution at the Ashanti Regional Police Command, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Kofi Blagodzi, said efforts were underway to arrest the remaining suspects, and called on the other suspects to surrender themselves to the police.

Counsel for the two suspects expressed disappointment in the court for remanding their clients as they claimed the charges against them did not match the facts. 

“I am really disappointed, the facts do not support the charges, and I do not know why the court should remand them,” lawyer William AsamohaSarpong, insisted.

Twelve cars were vandalised and 12 students injured when students of the Unity Hall, popularly known as ‘Conti’, and University Hall, also known as ‘Katanga hall,’ of the KNUST clashed in a fierce battle. 

The clashes triggered after residents of Katanga, with their affiliates from the University of Cape Coast, Casely-Hayford Hall (Casford) breached a convention after crossing the ‘Peace Junction’ during the Zulu procession of the University Hall.

It is recalled that following several clashes between the two Halls over the years, a treaty was signed by the two Halls for Katanga, which is located close to the outskirts of the University’s residency, not to cross a route that links the Independence and Republic Halls. 

That route, if crossed by Katanga, means they have the intention of entering the Conti territory to cause mayhem.

But,last Thursday night’s incident saw the Katangees and Casfordians crossed the junction, leading to the clashes that saw some vehicles parked at the forecourt of the Unity Hall vandalised, and the twelve persons injured.

Hall week activities on the campus started on August 10 and were expected to end on August 28,this year.

Each hall was to celebrate their achievements and to fraternise.

The Katangees, who were celebrating their hall week embarked on a procession toward the main university entrance gate, blocked traffic flow on the Kumasi – Accra highway and created a lot of vehicular traffic.

On their return to campus, they decided to use the Unity Hall arena, against the treaty. 

Without any provocation, the Katanga students were said to have pelted stones at residents of Unity Hall in an attempt to provoke them to react.

When that failed, the Katangees were said to have destroyed anything on site including cars, some of which belonged to staff.

A joint police and military presence at the campus restored calm to the campus.

FROM KINGSLEY E.HOPE, KUMASI





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