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24.05.2007 General News

Sodom and Gomorrah residents strike

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Residents of Sodom and Gomorrah, a slum area in Kumasi, have staged a demonstration to protest their eviction.

Authorities of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly on Wednesday stormed the slum area to evict the squatters.

The demonstration, which lasted for about four hours, was necessitated by what the residents alleged was the unfair treatment being meted out to them after the KMA had agreed to allow them to occupy the area as a transit zone for sometime before they are resettled.

The KMA has, however, refuted this allegation, saying the grace period given the residents elapsed last year and as such the residents had no moral justification to embark on the demonstration.

Carrying placards some of which read, "Have mercy on us, KMA", "You should fulfill your promise", "Where do we go from here", "This is unfair KMA", and "Sodom and Gomorrah residents are not thieves", the residents marched through the streets of Adum and finally converged at the Sodom and Gomorrah park.

In an interaction with newsmen after the demonstration Madam Lucy Otoo, spokesperson for the residents, pleaded with the KMA to be committed to its promise and allow the residents to get fully resettled before evicting them.

She dismissed reports that the area was a den for criminals and said there was no iota of truth in that.

Reacting to the concerns raised by the residents, Mrs Jemima Nancy Asare, the Public Relations Officer of the KMA, said the eviction of the residents formed part of the second phase of the decongestion exercise initiated by the assembly last month.

She said Sodom and Gomorrah was a slum and since all slums would be destroyed under the second phase of the exercise to enhance Kumasi's beautification, the former could not be given any preferential treatment.

On the grace period given the residents to get resettled, Mrs Asare said the period elapsed in July last year and that the area has been turned into a haven for armed robbers and other criminals.

Mrs Asare said since the residents had no permit to occupy the area, "We have no choice than to evict them to facilitate the decongestion exercise."

Source: GNA

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