Unitech student dies after PNG attack, campus buildings set ablaze

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Unitech building ruins after being set on fire in a campus attack early today in Lae, Papua New Guinea. Image: Unitech

A group of men armed with bush knives attacked a student last night in the male dormitories at Papua New Guinea’s University of Technology in Lae in an apparent targeted attack.

Attackers then in the early hours of today went on a rampage of destruction on campus, setting fire to several buildings.

“We regret to inform that the student passed away a few hours later as a result of his wounds,” said Unitech vice-chancellor Dr Albert Schram in a statement.

“The management was on the ground immediately, and has been dealing with the situation as it developed,” reported Loop PNG.

“They were assisted by the university police and security guards, plus a few dozen men from the Lae police, who had been called in earlier last week to protect students and university property.

“Subsequently, a group of marauders proceeded to set fire to various academic buildings. The power supply was cut off, and the telephone network went down,” said Dr Schram.

Loop PNG reported the initial attack was about 10pm.

-Partners-

Substantial damage
About 1am today, the Student Representative Council president’s residence, other buildings, and finally the mess were set on fire. These buildings suffered substantial damage.

The chief security officer sounded the campus alarm siren about 2pm, and the police force’s Metropolitan Superintendent sent in extra security forces as reinforcements.

“Regrettably, for some time the forces were outnumbered by the marauders, who constantly moved about campus,” said Dr Schram

“Finally, in a joint effort, the forces deployed on campus were able to disperse the marauders using tear gas.”

The university management is dealing with the evacuation of all students from campus, since the mess will be out of operation for several months to come.

“The evacuation of most students will be completed during the morning, since the university can no longer provide food,” said Dr Schram.

“The campus gates are closed in order to prevent any outsiders from coming on campus.”

Already the university’s academic semester had been disrupted by six weeks of unrelated student protests over national politics, calling for Priume Minister Peter O’Neill to resign.

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