Nine Passam students face arson charges

National, Normal

The National – Tuesday, June 28, 2011

NINE students face char­ges relating to the  burning of the Passam National High School administration building and its ration store last week.
The students were arrested yesterday by police from Wewak, East Sepik, after an intensive week-long investigation.
The nine students were among the 13 who were detained by police immediately after the June 19 fire which gutted the institution’s two key buildings.
The other four students were cleared by police and released over the weekend.
Provincial police commander Vincent Pokas said the nine students faced two counts each of arson.
He said five of the suspects were Grade 12 students.
The other four were either suspended or had withdrawn from the school last year because of disciplinary problems.
They are from Angoram district, East Sepik, except one who is from Magopin village, on the West Coast of Wewak.
The students are expected to appear before the Wewak Committal Court for mention this week.
The Department of Education has yet to make an announcement on the future of the school following the fire and looting of computers and other valuables.
Senior education officials in Port Moresby said yesterday staff of Passam and standard officers in the province had been tasked to provide a detailed report of the incident to the secretary for education.
In the meantime, there are no formal classes because most students had been displaced.