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Kokoyah students demand school’s relocation

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School going kids in Sayewhen Town and other parts adjacent are on a two – day demonstration in gold – reach Kokoyah District, Bong County, demanding the relocation of their school following its rapid closure due to alleged pollution.

There are claims that gold mining company MNG Gold allegedly spilled chemical including cyanide and mercury, causing pollution in the area.It is believed that the Company recently released some chemicals from its operation site into the ground which is said to have affected the only hand pump at the Sayewhen Town Public School.

It is reported that school going kids usually drink from the hand pump, and they allegedly continue to drink the “unsafe” water since the chemical allegedly affected the hand pump.Our correspondent says many of the kids are down with sicknesses like diarrhea, and some are said to be vomiting with blood.

The situation is alleged to have affected more than 20 students, prompting the school administration to immediately close the school last week.More than 300 students took to the street in the town carrying placards with the inscription “we want to go back to school, our school time is passing, so please relocate our school”.

The Administration’s decision to close the school is specifically based on finding way forward.
The School administration through the Registrar Eugene Johnson has stated that the school will remain closed to save the lives of the students.According to him, they want the school relocated.

According to our correspondent who visited the town, MNG Gold chemical tank is approximately 10 feet away from the school and hand pump is very closed to the school as well.“All of my children are sick, I don’t have money to send them to hospital,” Mary Wamah, the mother of four told our correspondent.

She says since they realized that the water was allegedly affecting their children, there has been no response from the Company’s Administration concerning the matter.Also speaking, an elder of the town, Flomo G. Nakulah says the situation has brought their children’s learning activities to standstill.

When contacted by the NewDawn Newspaper, the Government Liaison officer Benedict Sayeh denies that the student’s condition results from the waste chemical from the tank.He states that their technicians worked very hard to build the tank and in no way such tank will release wastes.
Mr. Sayeh has stated that he will only believe that the residents’ concern is true when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Bong County Health Team investigate the matter and make a report.

Last year, MNG Gold spilled about three million gallons of deadly chemicals such as cyanide and mercury into the ecosystem; land and water in nearby villages where they operate.

– amid alleged pollution from company

By Joseph Titus Yekeryan in Bon –Edited by Winston W. Parley

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