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04.04.2008 Africa

Police Avert Bloody Clash At Cape Vars

The police yesterday averted what could have been a bloody clash at the University of Cape Coast when defiant students of the Casely-Hayford Hall who had been ordered to vacate the campus tried to prevent other students from entering the cafeteria where the evicted students had sought refuge.

The Daily Graphic gathered that when the other students turned up at the cafeteria, which had been turned into a lecture hall since the pay-as-you-eat system was abolished, they were initially turned back by the Casford students who had occupied the cafeteria with their belongings to escape a heavy downpour.

 
But when the other students returned, determined to enter the cafeteria, the timely intervention of the police and the campus security guards prevented what would have turned out to be a nasty scene. In the circumstance, however, lectures at the cafeteria were aborted.

Following earlier clashes between students of Casford and their counterparts of the Atlantic Hall on Monday, the University of Cape Coast Administration ordered the students of Casford to vacate their hall to save lives and property.

Since the clash, which led to the cancellation of all activities in connection with the Casford Hall Week celebrations, the students of the hall have been agitating, demonstrating and resorting to violence, including blocking roads and pouring petrol on the pro vice-chancellor's house.

Some of the students who claimed they could not find alternative accommodation moved to the cafeteria with their luggage during a heavy downpour which started on Tuesday night.

A visit to the hall later yesterday showed that all the students, numbering about 1,200, had complied with the quit order, with the police and the campus security personnel guarding the premises.

Students could, however, be allowed into the hall to pick certain things that they might have left behind in the rush to beat the deadline.

Apart from the earlier skirmishes, the general atmosphere on campus was calm, with students shuttling from one end to the other.

When contacted, a source at the university said the students who had taken refuge at the cafeteria would be flushed out to enforce the quit order.

The source said academic work was going on smoothly without any interruption and that the administration was awaiting the report and recommendations of the committee set up to investigate the clashes for further action.

Meanwhile, the leadership of the CASFORD Hall has appealed to the administration to reconsider its decision and allow first-year students back into the hall to enable them to prepare for their first-year examinations which are about three weeks away.

The leadership also urged the students to exercise restraint and be calm while the committee and others moved behind the scenes to have the impasse resolved.

The UCC Administration ordered the students of Casford to vacate the hall by 12 noon last Tuesday following clashes that marred the Hall Week celebrations.

Story by Joe Okyere

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