KNUST: Students injured, property destroyed in Conti, Katanga clash

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Scores of students of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), are injured after a misunderstanding allegedly broke out between some members of the University Hall [Katanga] and the Unity Hall, [Conti] in the early hours of Sunday, July 4, 2021.

The incident occurred during a vetting process for the Students Representative Council, SRC elections, held at the Great Hall of the University.

Eyewitnesses say, the students also vandalized some school property such as chairs and glasses.

An anonymous source, who was at the venue of the clash, narrated to Citi News how the incident happened.

“It all started with the usual processions by the two halls in support of their various candidates from the halls to the Great Hall before the vetting starts. When the ‘Katangees’ arrived, there was some sort of confusion between them and the Continentals. One gentleman believed to be part of the management team of an aspirant from Conti was preventing the ‘Katangees’ from entering the Hall. This caused the first chaos between the two sides. ”

The ‘Katangees’ suspected the said gentleman was from Conti, and allegedly beat him up for preventing them from entering into the Great Hall with their procession, according to information available to Citi News.

It also alleged that the yet-to-be-identified management team member of the aspirant had a bottle in his possession that broke and cut his fingers and other parts of his body – injuring him during the altercation.

The second leg of the clash was when the Electoral Commission decided to postpone the vetting due to the rowdy nature of the two sides.

While the vetting of one of the aspirants who is said to be neither from the camp of Katanga nor Conti, but a top aspirant in the elections was in session,  the process was being disrupted by the excessive noise from the chanting of both the Conti and Katanga procession groups who had massed up outside the auditorium.

“……it is believed that the Continentals first threw a bottle of urine in the direction of where the ‘Katangees’ had gathered. So the ‘Katangees’ also retaliated. The exchange was followed by the destruction of chairs in the great hall,” the source mentioned.

“The fight broke, It was very bizarre. Someone even threw a machete, which is suspected to have hurt someone. There were knives and other weapons that were used to attack members of the halls involved. I can say there are both minor and major injuries that need urgent medical attention.”

In the meantime, security personnel on campus have moved in to restore calm and prevent further destruction of the school’s property.

Both Conti and Katanga are notorious for students’ rivalry, which have in most cases led to chaotic disturbances.

In the past, feuds between these two male halls of the residence resulted in injuries, a situation that is a major concern for school authorities.

Popular of the Katanga-Conti riots was in 2018 during the school’s attempt to convert the two halls into a mixed one.

The students’ riot and subsequent destruction of properties, estimated at over GHc1.6 million. It also led to the temporary closure of the university.

Also, the Ashanti Regional Security Council declared KNUST a security zone as a result.

Some of the aggrieved students and alumni had described the school management’s decision to convert the all-male halls into unisex ones as an attempt to promote a culture of silence at the school.

But management said the move was to improve the enrollment of more women in the school.

The alumni even petitioned President Nana Akufo-Addo, asking him to intervene in what they described as the dilution of their hall traditions.

Source: citinewsroom