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JOHANNESBURG: A fire broke out Sunday in the foot hills of Cape Town's landmark Table Mountain, destroying a restaurant alongside a statue of British colonial icon Cecil Rhodes, AFP journalists reported from the scene.

They saw hundreds of University of Cape Town students fleeing their dormitories on foot along the main road as their library burned.

Table Mountain National Park, which spreads over much of the city's unbuilt area, called on social media for hikers to leave the area and for motorists to remove cars parked in the vicinity.

A first alert went up shortly before 9 am (0700 GMT), the city said. Three helicopters joined the fight, dumping water on the inferno, the city said.