Appiatse Explosion: Municipal Education Director disputes police account on school children

Some of the schools affected by January's explosion

Prestea-Huni Valley Municipal Director of the Ghana Education Service (GES) Mary Vida Kwofie has revealed that there is no school in the Appiatse community.

According to her, though there is a structure in the community painted and looking like a school “it is not in use”.

“…there is no school there. The building there and being misconstrued as a school building with children used to be a training center for the mining company, former Golden Star Resources [now Future Global Resources].

“They gave it to the community when they left. So the community decided to use it for a KG. But the parents could not pay the community teachers. Currently, the chiefs and people have approached the education directorate that GES absorbs it as a school into the public sector. The process is currently ongoing.”

Ms Vida Kwofie, therefore, insisted that “it is not the case that there was a school there with children at the time the incident happened”.

When asked by the host of Connect FM’s morning show Omanbapa Nhyiraba Paa Kwesi Simpson about the account that the driver of the vehicle carrying the explosive materials that later detonated after the supposed crash, went to the school to warn the children about the impending danger, the Municipal Director of Education maintained: “I don’t know where the driver went to pick the children from the school building. But all I can say is that there is no school at Appiatse”.

The Municipal Director of Education’s revelation runs contrary to earlier and widely publicized account that the driver of the vehicle carrying the explosive materials, after the reported crash with a motorcycle, went to the “school” to warn them about the impending danger.

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It will also be recalled that the Director of Public Affairs of the Ghana Police Service, ACP Kwesi Ofori, addressing the media a day after the explosion at Appiatse, defended that there was a police escort, insisting further that “the police escort assisted the driver in making sure that they alerted members of the public. The policeman was part of those who came to the school to whisk the school children away”.

Affected students

But Mary Vida Kwofie indicated that there were no students around at the time the incident happened, explaining that all the students are safe.

“When the incident happened those from the community and attending school at Golden Star were housed at the school. The school has some teachers quarters, so that was where they were kept. They did not go to the scene at all. They are fifteen in number. It was later that their parents and relatives came to pick them. The last group that left the school did so on Sunday. Another school, Bepo Methodist Primary, had 39 students… When the incident happened someone on a tricycle came to warn them to run. So they were relocated to a community at the back of the school and were supervised by the headmaster and their teachers. And that was where they stayed till in the evening when their parents came for them. The headmaster took the remaining two to his house.

“The Bepo-Nhyieso JHS had seven students. One was not affected and so he comes to school but the remaining 6 are being housed at the Parish Hall”.

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According to her, arrangements are being made to enroll the affected students in neighbouring schools once they are relocated to their temporary abode at the Dumasi Resettlement Site.

“On our assessment visit, we saw at the Golden Star School that some have started attending school. But for those at Bepo, there was no one there. The affected students are currently at Bogoso and from Bogoso to Bepo is quite a distance and they also have to pass through their now destroyed community. So, the plan is that when they are resettled, we will look for schools around and send them there.”

By Eric Yaw Adjei|Connect FM||Ghana