5 April 2007

Zimbabwe: Fire Damages UZ Dining Hall

Harare — FIRE extensively damaged the dining hall of the University of Zimbabwe's New Complex Four on Tuesday night but police are still to conclude whether it was the 11th attack in a bombing campaign or an accidental blaze.

Yesterday the roof of the dinning hall curved in while windows, furniture and doors were damaged.

UZ information and public relations director Mrs Taurwi Mabeza said the fire started in the early hours of yesterday.

"It is still premature to say a lot. We don't know what caused the fire and police investigations are still in progress," she said.

Police spokesperson Chief Inspector Andrew Phiri yesterday said: "We are still taking the matter as malicious injury to property while investigations are still in progress."

Police investigations revealed that an unidentified student raised alarm saying he had seen fire coming out from the building.

"It is still not yet clear what could have caused the fire but we are still investigating to ascertain whether it was an electrical fault or as a result of malcontents," said Chief Insp Phiri.

However, in recent weeks suspected MDC activists have been on a terror campaign petrol-bombing police stations, businesses belonging to Zanu-PF officials, buses and a train.

Four police stations, two supermarkets, Zanu-PF offices in Mbare, a passenger train and two fuel tankers have been bombed.

Some students at the university said they suspected that the dinning hall was petrol-bombed by MDC activists on the campus.

"Some of them were seen forcing other students to abandon their studies and join the stayaway," said one student who refused to be identified.

Some of the students said they heard noises in the early hours followed by explosions from the direction of the dinning hall.

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