Zambia: Political supporters blamed for school attack

Andalou Agency, June 20, 2016

By Francis Maingaila

LUSAKA, Zambia  

Learning at Lady Diana, a private school in Lusaka’s Kanyama township, was suspended on Tuesday following an attack on the institution by suspected supporters of the ruling Patriotic Front.

Samuel Mwale, Lady Diana school administrator, told reporters: “I have called this conference to announce a painful decision we have made to suspend learning today. The attack on the school is traumatic and no student will be willing to learn after such a traumatic experience.

“Although we have asked students to go home to recover from this traumatic experience, we are not sure how many will come back to school because many are still in shock,” he added.

Lady Diana School is the largest privately owned school in Kanyama. It is owned by Mwale, who is also a parliamentary candidate for the opposition United Party for National Development.

Two students were rushed to a clinic after they sustained injuries.

Police told Anadolu Agency that the attack may have been targeted towards Mwale in his capacity as a politician rather than a school official.

Education Minister John Phiri told reporters in Lusaka: “An attack at the school regardless of the ownership is not only inhuman but barbaric. The action has left a traumatized experience for students who should be learning to prepare for their future.”

Some students speaking after the attack described the incident as traumatic. “I did not expect this to happen but for whatever reason it has happened,” Hendrix Phiri, 16, told Anadolu Agency.

Phiri, a grade 11 student, said he was choked by the smell of teargas which police fired to disperse the crowd which had gathered at the school.