Kokoyah Students Demonstrate, want school relocated amid pollution of MNG Waste

Reported by Emmanuel Mafelah

School going kids in Sayewhen Town and other parts adjacent are on a two day demonstrations in gold reach District Kokoyah, Bong County following the rapid closure of their school as a result of a chemical spilled such as cyanide and mercury by gold mining company MNG Gold.

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 that school going kids usually drink.

Since the Chemical affected the pump, students of the school have been drinking the “unsafe” water many of whom are down with sicknesses like diarrhea and some are vomiting with blood.

The situation which led to more than twenty students being affected as result of the “chemical water”, prompted the Administration to immediately close the school last week.

Even though more than twenty kids have been affected in the Mineral reach region which is believed to have been the result of drinking from the polluted hand pump, more than three hundred students took to the street of the Town plagas 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 for to mitigate reason leading to the students encountering sicknesses at the school.

The School administration through the Register Eugene Johnson has stated that the school will remain close in order to save the lives of the students and they want the school relocated.

According to our Correspondent who visited the town, MNG Gold chemical tank is approximately ten feet from the school which is very close to the only hand pump.

Our Correspondent says it is like a dark days for residents of Sayewhen Town and surrounding villages especially students attending the school.

“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 said since they realized that the water was allegedly affecting their children, there has been no respond from the Company’s Administration concerning the matter.

“Our Children are suffering from these sicknesses some of them are vomiting with blood, some do not eat or even drink since three days” Madam Wamah adds.

Also speaking, an Elder of the Town Flomo G. Nakulah said the situation has brouth their children learning activities to standstill adding that the student’s demonstrations are meant to climb the attentions of the Company Executives.

“Our children (the one that are well) are demonstrating in order for the Company to do something now, even though the situation can’t remain like that they go back to the school, but when the demonstration is been carried, we strongly believe that the Company will quickly work on the Chemical thank to stop the pollution of the drinking water” he adds.

When contacted by this Paper, the Government Liaison officer Benedict Sayeh denied that the student’s condition is as a result of the waste chemical of the tank.

He stated 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 announce such.

It can be recalled that lately 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 but the Company did nothing to help these people.

Some residents that are not basing in the affected areas are calling on the government of Liberia to quickly intervene in the situation.

 

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About Cholo Brooks 13498 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.