The deaths of three pupils at Kabompo Secondary School in North-Western Province have saddened Government but it has dismissed speculation that witchcraft was the cause.
Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education spokesperson Hilary Chipango said in an interview yesterday that it is sad that the three pupils have died in a space of 10 days.
He said the ministry is waiting for a report from the Ministry of Health to ascertain the cause of the deaths.
On Friday, pupils at Kabompo Secondary School and some members of the public rioted after a third student died, speculating that they were victims of witchcraft.
The situation has led to over 500 pupils being withdrawn from the school by their parents, leaving only about 130 learners.
“Yes, we can confirm that we have lost three pupils at Kabompo Secondary School in a space of 10 days. The Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education is saddened by this loss and we convey our sincere condolences to the bereaved families,” Mr Chipango said.
He said it is unfortunate that pupils and some members of the public resorted to rioting before knowing the cause of the deaths.
Mr Chipango said public property worth millions of Kwacha was destroyed in the riot.
He said windows to the school were smashed, and some school property such as mattresses have been stolen.
“It is very unfortunate because this situation has left most of the school property damaged and we have lost mattresses for pupils,” Mr Chipango said.
He said it is not true that the three pupils were killed through witchcraft because the real cause of death has not been established.
“We are waiting for a report from our colleagues in the Ministry of Health on these unfortunate deaths, but it is not true that this is an act of witchcraft,” Mr Chipango said.
He said some parents have withdrawn their children from the school due to the volatile situation at the learning institution.
The ministry is hopeful the situation will soon return to normal.