A 17-year-old first year student of the Abuakwa State College (ABUSCO) at Kyebi in the East Akim municipality of the Eastern region, Abubakar Yussif Jamal, died on Monday when he fell into a large galamsey pit just outside the school premises.
The incident happened when Jamal and a colleague went there to wash their feet, after they allegedly undertook a scrubbing exercise.
The death of Jamal brings to five, the number of people who have fallen into open galamsey pits in and around Kyebi, where galamsey activities are rampant.
The incident sparked a students’ demonstration on Tuesday as the students wanted to know what exactly led to Jamal’s death and the fact that all of them might not be safe in the school.
The students carried placards with inscriptions such as ‘We Fear For Our Lives’, ‘Why ABUSCO/ 5 deaths?’ and ‘Who sent them?’
Daily Guide investigations showed that the school faces a serious water problem which is not yet attended to, and some teachers allegedly took advantage of it by producing sachet water from the school’s only source of drinking water for commercial purposes.
The students therefore vented their spleen on some bagged water sachets which were being packed into a waiting truck on the school campus and destroyed all of them.
While the students said that Abubakar Yussif Jamal and Bright Agbagba were part of the scrubbing team that had allegedly been deployed to scrub one Mr. Appiah-Kubi’s house, which is close to the galamsey pits, the headmaster of the school, Nicholas Yeboah Anin Agyei stated that the students went to the galamsey site on their own.
The headmaster said when Yussif went there with the friend, he started washing his legs and decided to bathe in the water, after which he beckoned the friend to join him.
He explained that Yussif then started calling for help when he started drowning but the friend could not help him.
He indicated that water had filled the pit to the brim so several water pumps were used to pump out the water during the night before the body was located.
Doctors at the Kyebi hospital said Yussif died from short of breath and he was retrieved foaming from the mouth.
His parents were informed about the incident on Tuesday.
Yussif was buried yesterday at Kyebi in line with Islamic traditions.
The Eastern Regional Minister, Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo rushed to the school to stop the students from going on further rampage and to assure them that a full-scale investigation would be conducted into the incident.
According to the minister, a committee of enquiry would be put in place immediately to investigate the actual cause of the incident. It is expected to submit its report in seven days.
He described the incident as very unfortunate and called for collaborated efforts from both traditional and political leaders to fight the menace of illegal mining.
He announced that the cost of the burial and the funeral of the student would be borne the Regional Co-ordinating Council.