Concord Times (Freetown)

Sierra Leone: Dynamite Blast Panics Freetown

As if reminding people of the past rebel war when gunshots were fired all over the place, the blasting of dynamites to crack rocks by the Senegalese construction company CSE that is currently working on the hillside bypass road on Monday created serious panic among some residents of western Freetown and caused damages to people's homes.

At about 5:30pm on Monday October 8, the entire Dwarzark, Pademba Road and New England communities were gripped with panic as two people sustained injuries after the blasting of the dynamite without allegedly informing residents before undertaking the exercise.

"This is a complete breach of the peace we are supposed to be enjoying," lamented a petty trader Fatmata Kamara. "We are not against the ongoing development, but the company needs to inform us before blasting their dynamites."

She told Concord Times that the blast disrupted her business, claiming that she nearly suffered a heart attack due to the deafening and debilitating blast.

The blast was said to have caused seriously damage to a stationary car, a house and the NP fuel station situated at Padamba Road.

Also, the blast disrupted normal schooling around the perimeter where the company's construction work is taking place as pupils of the E.B. Williams Municipal School on Jomo Kenyatta Road had to abandon their classes and dash for their different homes before 6:00pm, which is the official time for the close of evening classes.

However, CSE site supervisor Augustine Goba told Concord Times that they have done several blasting without incurring damage to anyone, and argued that Monday's incident was an accident that could not have been easily prevented.

He said though fragments from their blasts go as far as two hundred meters, they usually inform residents before they undertake the exercise but that people were sometimes reluctant to move away from the site. He added that the company also works with traffic police officers to control vehicular movements along the Pademba Road thoroughfare.

"Due to the damage caused on Monday, management has decided to suspend blasting until things are settled with the affected property owners," Goba said.

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