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13 Oct 2010

Frank Mugabi, New Vision [Uganda]

Dwellers Protest Dam Blasts [Uganda]

Residents of Budondo sub-county in Jinja district demonstrated on Tuesday against the blasts at the Bujagali hydropower dam construction site. The residents argued that the blasts, carried out twice a week by project contractors Italian firm Salini Construttori and Bujagali Energy Limited (BEL) [joint venture Sithe Global Power & Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development], have left cracks in buildings in at least seven villages and two towns...[M. Owino, speaker for the complainants] said they had registered miscarriages since the blasts started, while the water sources and air were filled with detonation chemicals. [He] attributed the increased cases of some diseases among the residents to the blasts. He said they wrote to the Uganda Human Rights Commission which gave the contractors 21 days from August 3 to respond...Salini project manager, Marco Faggiani, described the allegations as "unfounded"...[also includes comment by BEL]