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Cremation…Boys Town Community Urges

Residents of Boys Town, lower Margibi County are calling on the Liberian government to disallow the Indian community in Liberia from cremating dead bodies in their community.

The site was established in March 1986 by Indians for the cremation of their dead relatives and loved ones before the Liberian government started cremating Ebola dead bodies in 2014.

During the height of the virus, cremation was one of the safest ways recommended to the Liberian government in preventing people from contracting the virus from the dead.

But due to continuous protests by the residents of the town against the cremation of bodies and the risk posed to their health, government immediately halted and relocated the cremation process elsewhere.

At a mass meeting Tuesday to appreciate government for its decision to halt and relocate the cremation of bodies elsewhere, the residents said that although the process has been halted, but the site remains in possession of the Indians for the same purposes which must be disallowed.

The residents, under the banner, “Life Community Development Organization (LIFECOMDO)” said they are pleased that government has finally listened to their cries to end the cremation of Ebola victims in their community.

Mr. Tibelrosa Summoh Tarponweh, spokesman of the residents told reporters that the unskilled mass cremation in their vicinity was wrong, sloppy and harmful, and added that such an idea came sooner to avoid painful experiences.

Mr. Tarponweh explained that when the Indians established the crematorium in 1986, it was a logical site because the area was uninhabited, but presently, he argues the site stands in the middle of thriving neighborhood.

According to him,  because the Crematorium is now located in a community of 6,000 residents which makes occasional cremation even dangerous by the Indians, an immoral act must be disallowed due to its closeness to occupied residential buildings.

“While the community is united against the heartless treatment, we nonetheless are supportive of all efforts to eradicating the deadly Ebola Virus. Also, our hearts are loaded with profound grief for the victims of the horrible disease - how can anyone lives the area ever forget the daily sight of mass parade of their fellow citizens being incompletely dumped and burned to close to them with smoke deriving from their burned remains saturating the air and home?,' Mr. Tarponweh wondered.

He indicated that if government cannot defend those fundamental guarantees, it should take no action to harm it which sadly has been the case from early August 2014 to the time of securing a new burial site.

According to him, regardless of what science may speculate, the primitive cremation carried out in their neighborhood is identical to watching a horror movie, which distressed the air, contaminated the environment and caused trauma as a direct result of heavy explosion during cremation, polluted water and subjected the area to psychological abuse.

In their recommendation, the spokesman recommended to the Liberian government to ensure that the Indians are disallowed to use the crematorium for the same reasons it was pressured to cause its cremating activities and take immediate action to secure and preserve the now defunct cremation site for use as shrine in memory of those killed by the virus.

The residents also recommended to government to provide counseling services for members of the community, including a select few that were hired without proper guidance to perform such an abnormal task and benefit package organized by for grossly violating their rights to live in a safe and healthy environment.

Mr. Tarponweh: “Make no mistake, in addition to this appearance; we reserve the right to seek the intervention of our international partners and forums if nothing is done to address the above noted reasonable resolution. Let the word go forth that it is good governance that guarantees stability and public order and security, not the abundance of ill-timed deployment of military and paramilitary groups.”