April 22, 2011 / 8:44 PM / 9 years ago

Students rampage in Moroccan campus after murder

RABAT (Reuters) - Masked students with sticks and knives went on the rampage in a Rabat university campus on Friday after a student from the Western Sahara territory was stabbed to death, official media and witnesses said.

A campus director said he was held hostage for an hour, together with eight other members of staff, during the rioting.

“We denounce this crime and we are sorry for the dead student, but the reaction was barbaric. They terrorized the campus,” the director Ahmed Welad Kheyyi told Reuters.

Students said some people had been injured but the MAP news agency did not mention casualties.

Some of the students who had committed violence and acts of vandalism came from the Western Sahara territory, referred to by Morocco as the Southern Region, students and MAP said.

“Because of the death of a Sahrawi student, a group armed with sticks and long knives attacked the university campus,” a 22 year-old student who gave her name as Sanaa told Reuters.

The students set up barricades, MAP said, but the violence was quickly brought under control.

A 25-year-old student Abbad Hammad from the Western Sahara was fatally stabbed in a brawl Thursday near the campus. MAP said the brawl started when Hammad got drunk and harassed a woman on the campus.

Police were hunting for the killer, the agency said.

Morocco annexed the Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, in 1975. That sparked a war with the Polisario Front until a U.N.-brokered ceasefire in 1991. The deal provided for a referendum on the territory’s fate, but it has not been held.

Additional reporting by Souhail Karam; Writing by Barbara Lewis

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