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Suspected arson attempt at Wits

29 May 2016 - 01:59 By Khanyi Ndabeni

Wits University has been forced to beef up security during its current examination period after what it believes to be an attempted arson attack.

University spokesperson Shirona Patel said two male suspects wearing balaclavas entered the law library on the Braamfontein West campus through an open window in the early hours of yesterday. Library staff arriving for work were greeted by the smell of gas and alerted security.

“After everyone was evacuated from the building we found three gas cylinders. We are not sure who the suspects are at this stage. We have reported the case to the police for further investigation.”

Patel said more security officers would be posted at lecture halls, libraries, exam venues and other key points on the institution’s four campuses. Police would remain on standby throughout the examination period.

This scare comes two weeks after arsonists torched a computer lab and the Sanlam Auditorium at the University of Johannesburg’s main campus in Auckland Park, causing damage estimated at R100-million.

Wits Vice-Chancellor Professor Adam Habib said the university believed the incident was a deliberate attempt to destroy the building. Police spokesperson Captain Tsekiso Mofokeng said a case of malicious damage to property had been opened.