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Police arrest two in Lamu coal plant protest

Friday May 25 2018

Lamu coal plant protests

Police arrest Walid Ahmed Ali (left) and Ishaq Abubakar Khatib in Lamu on May 25, 2018. PHOTO | KALUME KAZUNGU |NATION MEDIA GROUP 

KALUME KAZUNGU
By KALUME KAZUNGU
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Two activists in Lamu were arrested on Friday during a protest against the Sh200 billion coal plant plan in the county.

Lamu West police boss Juma Londo said the two members of Save Lamu, an environmental activism group, were arrested for leading an illegal protest.

'ILLEGAL'

Walid Ahmed Ali, who is the organisation’s secretary-general and Ishaq Abubakar Khatib were arrested as they protested against the project on the streets of Lamu Old Town.

There was confrontation between police and other members of Save Lamu before the two were taken to Lamu West Police Station for questioning.

The demonstrations ended prematurely as police warned the protesters of dire consequences for engaging in an ‘unlawful’ event.

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The police boss said the group had sought for permission to demonstrate but their request was rejected.

Save Lamu said it is determined to stop the establishment of the Sh200 billion coal-fired power plant at Kwasasi in Lamu County.

Environmentalists and a group of Lamu residents suffered a blow after a judge in Malindi declined to hear a case late March 2018 seeking to stop the establishment of a coal plant.

The project is being undertaken by the Amu Power Company, a consortium of Gulf Energy and Centum Investment.

HEALTH

Some 975 acres of land have already been set aside for the establishment of the project which is expected to generate 1,050 megawatts of power on completion.

Despite the project receiving the go ahead from the National Environmental Authority and assurances from various leaders, including the National Assembly Committee on Energy that the plant will use advanced technology which is safe to the environment and human health, the activists are still opposed to the project.

Early Friday morning, members of the group converged at Tushauriane Conferential Hall and said they are determined to ensure justice prevails for thousands of locals who are against the coal plant.

“The project is hazardous and must not be allowed to take off. We will use all manner of forces especially legal redress if the government goes ahead with Coal Plant establishment in Lamu,” Mr Khatib said.