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Two die as villagers storm a gold mining company in Rarieda

Two people died, Thursday, when irate villagers stormed a Company under construction in the Rarieda Sub-county, to oppose its operations.

The incident, which occurred in Lumba Kobong’s village in East Asembo Ward, left several people nursing injuries, with a man of Chinese extraction who had earlier flashed his gun to scare away the villagers was  forced to take off at high speed to an unknown destination.

Trouble started when agitated youths stormed out of a public participation meeting, organized by an area Member of the County Assembly, Gordon Onguru, a few meters from the Company.

Armed with their mining tools, the youths marched to the factory and started demolishing the wall, as some climbed over, holding captive the company workers and their bosses by surprise.

Once inside, the youths started attacking whoever was in the compound, clobbering and slashing them.

The villagers had earlier expressed concern that they had not been engaged by the proprietors of Amlight Company Limited, which had erected a wall to start a gold processing factory in the area.

Speaker after speaker, the residents accused the Company of using the back door to set-up base in the area, adding that as stakeholders, they had the right to know exactly how the Company will conduct its activities, including the environmental hazards, and how it will tackle them.

A youth, Wycliff Ochieng Odindo, lamented that there was a likelihood for the Company to use harmful chemicals, that would affect them hence the need for both the Company and government officials, to come up and tell the public what exactly was going on.

Other residents lamented that the Company was likely to bring in machines that would displace artisanal miners who have, for decades, benefited from mining activities.

“As artisanal miners, we expected to benefit from these natural resources for years and pass it over to our grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but once this Company steps in with machines and chemicals, we are doomed,” said a villager, Everline Achieng.

Area MCA, Gordon Onguru said that the meeting was properly convened, adding that he had invited both government and local mining companies, including Amlight Co. Ltd officials, to attend and shed light on the activities of the Company.

Siaya County Police Commander, Mr. Cleti Kimaiyo, confirmed the incident, saying that a team of senior administration and regular police officers, were on the ground to address the matter.

By Philip Onyango

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