The National – Monday, June 27, 2011
By ELIZABETH VUVU
POLICE officers who fired tear gas and stormed into the male dormitory at a boarding educational institution are being questioned over the death of a student.
The incident happened last Friday at the Kokopo Business College in East New Britain.
In retaliation, the students later burnt down the administration office building and, among other things, damaged the principal’s residence.
Provincial police commander Sylvester Kalaut said he was aware of the accusation of police brutality levelled against his officers.
He said the officers involved were being questioned.
The final-year management student, who died on Saturday morning, was identified as Stanis Jiki.
Deputy principal of the college John Karis said the police officers went into the school premises last Friday night after receiving a complaint.
He said they fired tear gas, went into the male dormitory and questioned Jiki, a student from East Sepik.
Karis alleged that they also beat him up. Karis said the officers then took Jiki and three other male students to the Kokopo police station.
Jiki died in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Karis said he broke the news to the campus and then warned the principal to vacate his house because he suspected that the students were likely to retaliate.
Karis said he then fled the campus with his family.
The students later went on a rampage, damaging the principal’s house and setting fire to the administration block comprising 11 rooms.
They also destroyed the school’s internet server and broke into the computer laboratory, taking out computers and throwing them over the school fence.
Two fire trucks arrived at the scene later but could not put out the fire.
On Saturday morning, female students were seen leaving with their belongings to stay with relatives and friends outside the college premises.
Kalaut said 50 students had been taken in for questioning.
He said some would be used as witnesses while others would be charged with arson and causing a riot.