Seychelles' authorities offering reward for info on suspected gas attacks

General |Author: Rita Joubert-Lawen Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | April 18, 2024, Thursday @ 10:34| 4739 views

Perseverance Secondary school was one of the first places to report the strong smell. (Seychelles Nation) 

(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles' authorities are offering a reward of SCR 100,000 ($7,425) to anyone having credible information on the recent suspected gas attacks and pledge to investigate the incidents.

The Minister for Internal Affairs, Errol Fonseka, made the statement when answering an urgent question by Wallace Cosgrow, a proportionate member of the United Seychelles party in the National Assembly.

Since Monday, April 8, an unknown substance in gaseous form has affected people in contact with it at several primary and secondary schools and the staff of the judiciary, also closing down the parliament.

Fonseka passed on a message from President Wavel Ramkalawan, who has been on an overseas mission since April 10 - attending the United Nations Ocean Decade conference in Barcelona, Spain, and the Our Ocean conference in Greece.

"He feels for those who have been affected, especially the children who have breathed in the unknown substance and have fallen ill," said Fonseka.

He added that the President has pledged to do everything to ensure that the authorities get to the bottom of the situation.

"There are no agencies that use chemicals in their operations such as Seypec, PUC and who have reported having an accidental discharge," said Fonseka.

He added that none of the agencies were operating in the areas where the incidents occurred and initially the authorities believed that "the marine sediments found in lagoons could be responsible for releasing a gas called balsamic methane."

"We are now treating this as a criminal case, and after the two incidents of yesterday (Monday) and today (Tuesday) all indications point to criminality. I also want to inform the National Assembly that the police is intensifying its work on all levels," said the minister.  

Fonseka asked people to be vigilant as such attacks are mainly aimed at spreading fear.

In the latest figures presented by the Minister, 353 people, both children and adults reported their respective health centres.

"They are experiencing symptoms of headaches, itching and stomach pains among others," explained Fonseka and added that the "Beau Vallon and Bel Eau school incidents have forced us to look into other areas."

Meanwhile, in a press release statement on Wednesday, United Seychelles (US) said it is truly disgraceful that children are deliberately being targetted.

"We, the United Seychelles Party, firmly believe that every individual has the right to live in a safe and secure environment, free from harm and fear and It is truly disheartening to witness such acts of malice, especially when they target educational institutions and workplaces," said United Seychelles.

The party added "It is truly astounding that, despite the presence of numerous security apparatuses in the country, the culprits are still able to operate with impunity.  We sincerely hope that the individuals responsible for these heinous acts will be apprehended and brought to justice the soonest."

"We demand that the authorities in Seychelles take immediate and decisive action to bring the culprits responsible for these atrocious deeds to justice, we strongly urge the government to implement effective measures in order to put an end to these acts of terror," said United Seychelles. 

Furthermore, the Seychelles Inter-Faith Council's (SIFCO) managing committee issued a statement also expressing concern over the incidents. 

 "We are concerned because the incident is causing fear among the population especially school children. We hope and pray that all concerned can bring the situation to its finality soon, " said SIFCO. 

Tags: United Seychelles, Seychelles Inter-Faith Council, National Assembly


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