18 persons suspected to be engaging in illegal mining, also known as ‘galamsey’, have been arrested by the Ashanti Forward Operating Base (FOB) of Operation Vanguard at Datano and its environs in the Amansie West District of the Ashanti Region.
[contextly_sidebar id=”tlSWGjXx2rYK9H27cYq6iBtDzyY49g6D”]The suspects are Michael Adzeoda, 24; Kwesi Ofori, 34; Alfred Techi, 25; Edo Amema, 18; Akpalu Louis, 24; Prince Johnson, 19; Samuel Asiedu, 25; Ataa Bottey, 32 and Samson Kollan, 26.
The rest are James Banson, 21; Sunday Asuri, 18; Mohammed Moro, 29; Ibrahim Duut, 25; Akwesi Asamoah, 20; Kofi Nyantekyi, 20; Jacob Kwame, 20; Michael Azuri, 29 and Pukimbia Lamban, also 45 years old.
Three excavators were immobilized and 15 ‘Changfangs’ were also destroyed during the operation.
The team also seized three water pumping machines, two excavator control boards, two excavator monitors, one excavator gear lever and 3 mobile phones.
All the suspects have been sent to the Datano police station for further investigation for possible prosecution.
The anti-galamsey task-force was deployed to three regions; Ashanti, Western and Eastern about five months ago, to help fight and sustain the campaign against illegal mining, which was started by Citi FM a year ago.
Their operations have resulted in the arrest of illegal miners including foreign nationals, particularly Chinese.
The deployment of the joint police and military task-force came as a major boost to government’s fight against illegal mining in the country, following news of its devastating effects on the country’s land and water resources.
The government placed a six-month ban on all forms of mining until further notice, but later extended it on two different occasions as it says the desired results have not been seen yet.
This is, however, in spite of appeals from licensed small-scale miners who say the ban is negatively affecting their livelihoods.
Meanwhile, Operation Vanguard and the Media Coalition Against Galamsey have been appealing to the country’s judiciary to mete out stiffer punishments to persons found guilty of illegal mining, especially on water bodies.
In various public appeals, they have noted that the fines imposed on majority of the guilty persons are not deterrent enough.