No one will hold us at ransom - CASE principal - Three students injured in suspected arson

Published: Thursday | December 12, 2013 Comments 0

 Gareth Davis Sr,  Gleaner Writer

Three students - including 18-year-old André Angus, who was stabbed in November - are in hospital following a fire, said to be deliberately lit, which damaged a room on the male dormitory at the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE) yesterday.

Angus, who was stabbed on the morning of November 17 by another student during a verbal confrontation, is suffering from burns to his left arm. The two other students, including Simeon Johnson, a United States citizen, is suffering from smoke inhalation. The name of the third student was not released up to press time.

"This kind of behaviour will not be tolerated," said Dr Mary Nichols, president of CASE.

"It is obvious that a group of students is hell-bent on creating mayhem and anarchy at this Government-run facility. Based on the evidence collected so far, the fire was deliberately lit by students. Students are sitting exams at this time, and I believe it is a direct attempt to disrupt and frustrate those students who have studied hard," she said.

"It is a criminal offence and I will deal with the administrative aspect as soon as the evidence is available. And, of course, the police will be filing criminal charges against those implicated."

Firefighters recovered bottles containing gasoline, which are believed to have been used to douse the room shortly before it was set ablaze.

CRIES FOR HELP

Reports are that shortly after 4:20 a.m. yesterday, students who were studying for exams saw smoke coming from a room on the ground floor of the male dormitory.

The students reportedly broke the windows in a valiant attempted to rescue four persons who were inside crying out for help.

Nichols explained that one of the problems plaguing CASE was that of persons witnessing crimes but would not relate what they have seen.

"They are in fear of what persons might do to them and, therefore, those committing crimes and other illicit acts are able to do so repeatedly and with virtual impunity. No individual or group will hold this institution at ransom. We will be going after them and they will be severely punished," she said.

"This is a premeditated act. Why would students turn off power supply to the dorm shortly before a fire?"

So far, the police are following strong leads as an alleged eyewitness is reportedly cooperating with the police and is assisting in the investigation.

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