Kwale County govt finally flattens deadly quarry that killed four children
18 May 2015, 11:15
Kwale - Kwale County government has finally flattened the deadly Mabatani quarry that left four children dead two weeks ago in Matuga sub-county.
The four died as they were using stagnant water in preparation for evening prayers when a huge sand block collapsed on them.
County executive member for water, roads and infrastructure, Hemed Mwabuzo had promised to flatten the quarry on Thursday and Friday last week but delayed until Saturday.
“We were waiting for the machine to be availed because it was doing other work somewhere else,” he told the press on the phone Thursday.
The bulldozer was seen on Saturday flattening the quarry, a day after locals expressed fears that the quarry would cause more deaths.
Governor Salim Mvurya had directed his officials two weeks ago to ensure the quarry is flattened to avoid more tragedies in future as well as assessing other unlicensed quarries in the area.
Meanwhile, Human Right Agenda lobby group wants the owner of the quarry to be arrested and charged for murder.
The organization Chief Executive Director, Yusuf Lule said that the owner who happens to be the village chairman defied a directive by the authority and villagers to close down the quarry.
“We are disturbed by the fact that area chairman is the owner of the deadly quarry and that he had been directed to close it by government officials but defied the orders leading to the death of four innocent children. We demand for his arrest,” he said.
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Lule told journalists on Friday after visiting the deceased children's families that that time had come for the national government to take action against those operating illegal quarries in the region.
He said that National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) officials in the area should also be questioned for failing to monitor sand harvesting activities and controlling them.
“While we call for the arrest of the quarry owner, NEMA officials should also be answerable for the four deaths of innocent children," he added.
Lule added that national government has to put up tough regulation that will ensure quarry operations are controlled in the country.
He said that the draft mining law is silent on the issue of quarry operations, just like in Ghana, Canada, South Africa and Australia among other countries.
“Sand harvesting in quarries is rampant in Kwale, Taita Taveta and Kilifi counties and needs to be controlled to avoid such deaths,” he added.
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