The Government of Ghana in its renewed war on galamsey dispatched over 200 military personnel to remove all illigal Mining operations undergoing on various water bodies.
The Government has ordered all prospecting activities in the country to cease and also directed the Mineral Commission to stop issuing licenses to persons or companies but some part of Ashanti region these illigal Mining activities are still ongoing.
On Friday 18 June, 2021, the District Chief Executive of Akrofuom in the Ashanti Region Maurice Jonas Woode was led an operation to arrest two illegal miners who were operating in the Supuma Forest near Betenase in the District.
The Operation team also included personnel from the Military Service, Police Service, Prison Service and the Forestry Commission. The suspects who are from Tamale in the Northern part of Ghana were identified as as Dagbe Ernest Suglo, 27 and Napoba Alareku, 27.
Addressing the press after the arrest, DCE said even before the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources Hon Samuel Jinapor declared forest reserves and water bodies as red zones,thus, restricted areas, the Assembly had already teamed up with the Forestry Commission at Betenase to sensitize them on the dangers of illegal mining and advised them to protect the forest. He continued ” but to our dismay, we had information that the illegal miners had pitched camp in the area with five (5) sprinter buses and were even fighting among themselves”.
The DCE further stated that, they had tried on several occasions to clamp down on their activities but to no avail since they no more use excavators but have adopted the ‘metal detector system which are mostly complicated and becomes very difficult for their operations to be noticed.
He continued that ,the miners upon getting wind of the presence of the operation team fled leaving their machines behind whiles lack run out on two of their colleagues who were immediately apprehended by the Police.
Mr. Palmer Amponsah, Assistant District Manager at the Bekwai office of the Forestry Commission, said ”since the use of excavators by galamseyers has almost come to a halt, they have adopted the use of metal detectors which look like bag. This is very difficult to detect”.
“The Commission is doing its best to stop the activities of illigal miners but their numbers are not enough” he said.
ASP Mahama Iddrisu who is in charge of Operations at the Obuasi District Police Command who spoke to Chukwu Joseph said, the Police finds it difficult to prosecute galamseyers. He opined that ,the Police needs hard core evidence to successfully prosecute illegal miners. ASP Iddrisu, a former prosecutor during the days of operation vanguard said” the major challenge we face in the prosecution of illegal miners is the absence of hard core evidence in some instances. The Court will always set the accused free if the evidence found against him is not strong enough”.