The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) says its officers deployed to curb illegal mining on water bodies and forest reserves, will not hesitate to destroy all equipment found at illegal mining sites.
The GAF made this known in a statement signed by its Public Relations Director, Eric Aggrey Quarshie.
It said visits by military personnel tasked to stop illegal mining activities in various areas had shown that “there were still some illegal mining activities going on in some of the areas that had hitherto been cleared by Operation Halt II”.
“These illegal activities were mostly being done in the night or under the cover of darkness protected by armed guards, as used cartridges were found at the sites. The Operation Halt II patrol that accompanies the team was ordered to destroy logistics found in these areas,” the statement added.
The Ghana Armed Forces has commenced the second phase of a security operation to fight illegal small-scale mining affecting water bodies and forest reserves.
A statement from the Ministry of Information said the exercise, dubbed ‘Operation Halt II’, is aimed at “removing all persons and logistics involved in mining on water bodies.”
The second phase of the exercise has seen the burning of excavators and other mining equipment – a move which has been justified by the government.
‘We’ll come after you’
Recently, the Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, warned illegal miners working at night that they do so at their own risk.
He noted that, during the different phases of ‘Operation Halt’, some miners were found to be carrying out their activities at night.
At a press briefing in Accra on Wednesday, Dominic Nitiwul said the military has been equipped to deal with such recalcitrant miners.
“We know that they do that from 9:00pm to 4:00am. That’s how brave they are. We know, and we know the towns they are doing it in, so we will come after you. Don’t try it,” Mr. Nitiwul warned.
“So if you go out there to mine, I cannot guarantee your safety when the soldiers are going to apprehend you. So I will advise you to not go out. It is not worth it.”
Mr. Nitiwul also defended government’s decision to burn the mining equipment of miners operating illegally.
He indicated that licensed mining companies operating near water bodies would be treated as illegal miners.