Regional News of 2013-12-05

Anyinam residents clash with police over Anglogold power cut

Residents of Anyinam near Obuasi in the Ashanti region clashed with the police as they took to the streets to demonstrate against AngloGold Ashanti over lack of electricity supply in the community.

On three occasions the police fired teargas to disperse angry residents, who would withdraw for a while and regroup minutes later.

According to the residents, they have not had power for the past two weeks, and have therefore massed up at the offices of Anglogold to vent their frustration.

Luv News’ Erastus Asare Donkor, who has been monitoring the protest told Joy News that the youth were incensed the more by reports that the police, who were using sticks on them, went to the extent of kicking a woman in her abdomen.

Meanwhile, Public Relations Manager for Anglogold Ashanti, John Owusu explained to Joy News that the company has been supplying power the community since the days of Ashanti Gold Fields.

Recounting the process leading to the demonstration, he said the transformer serving the community got burnt about three days ago, which he attributed to overloading.

According to him, a new transformer with bigger capacity of about 600 to 650 amps was installed, but it was detected that its output could not meet the power demand of the community. Residents were consuming about 1050 amps, Mr Owusu noted.

He said as a stopgap measure, the company with some energy experts met the chiefs and elders of the community to explain the issue to them and also suggest the need for a load-shedding exercise.

The traditional leaders were made to understand that hooking on everybody onto the available capacity would cause the transformer to burn, he said, adding that the leadership in turn held a meeting with the town folks in an attempt to explain the issue to them but they would not budge, insisting that they “want full power...and don’t care if the transformer gets burnt”.

Sounding helpless, John Owusu further pointed out that Anglogold may give in to their demand.

“We will give it to them but they have to face the consequence,” he warned.