Two members of the Public Order Police (POP) escaped in the nick of time when university students allegedly set a nyala alight in Mthatha on Monday 19 April.

Four other police officers conducting foot and vehicle patrols sustained injuries when a group of protestors threw stones at them. The incident occurred near Walter Sisulu University in Mthatha.

WATCH: POLICE NYALA SET ALIGHT

Police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said members of the Public Order Unit were monitoring the protest in Mthatha when they came under fire, allegedly by university students.

“Two members monitoring the violent protest in a police Nyala, fortunately, escaped unharmed when the Nyala was set alight. The pair managed to jump out moments before the armoured vehicle burst into flames.

“Four POP members sustained injuries when a group of violent protestors threw stones at members conducting foot and vehicle patrols. One member has since been hospitalised.”

POLICE COMMENDED FOR PRACTISING RESTRAINT

Naidoo added that criminal cases including malicious damage to property and assault had been opened.

“No suspects have been arrested as yet.”

National Police Commissioner, General Khehla John Sitole, commended the Public Order Police (POP) Unit for the manner in which they handled the situation .

“Members from the POP Unit must be commended for practising restraint and enforcing the law within the parameters as set out by the Constitution when they came under attack.  We wish the injured members a speedy recovery and have also dispatched our Employee Health and Wellness Unit to provide psychological support to all affected members”, concluded Sitole.

Police is calling on anyone with information on the incident to contact their nearest police station.

CURRENT ACADEMIC YEAR UNDER THREAT

WSU Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Rushiella Songca, said in a statement on Monday that the university had no choice but to immediately close all its campuses until further notice.

“In light of the events taking place on our campuses, the University has no other choice but to close the university forthwith until further notice. Students must vacate both the WSU and private residences by 16:00 this afternoon, 19 April 2021.

“During this period, the university will continue with its academic project online using a multi-modal approach for which we are geared. Those staff members who have the tools of the trade can continue to work from home. Management condemns the damage to public and university property and the attacks on its staff members.”

She added that an institution-wide shut-down has been declared by the Institutional Student Representative Council (ISRC).

“We now find ourselves at an impasse that sees the 2021 academic year under threat, including our staff and university property that stand at risk due to continued student protest action.”

READ: EC university protests shut down campuses, staff and students threatened

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Presh JM Reporter

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