The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources says investigation into an alleged assault by some military officers on members of the Ministry's taskforce sent to arrest illegal miners at Enchi in the Western North Region has commenced.
On Wednesday, January 19, 2022, the Deputy Minister in Charge of Mining, George Mireku Duker, directed the taskforce to report to the Western North Regional Minister and the Police Commander to assist the security personnel in the operations.
A statement issued by the Ministry indicated that on their way back to Accra, the taskforce spotted an illegal mining site around Manso-Amenfi and arrested two persons.
The Ministry in the statement noted that, on their way back after the arrest, they were allegedly brutalized by some military personnel who accosted them around Wassa Akropong.
The Ministry in the statement called on the public to make available evidence of the alleged attack on the 13-member taskforce by the military personnel.
“The Ministry’s attention has been drawn to some audio recordings, photos, and videos circulating on social media, concerning the arrest and brutalization of illegal mining task force by some military men. In an effort to fight illegal mining, popularly known as “galamsey”, the Ministry has established a taskforce to assist with the arrest. The team has been immensely supporting the Ministry’s endeavours to clamp down on illegal mining activities across the country”, the statement said. Details of the operation and other events were provided as follows:
- The Ministry has realised that it would be difficult for the security agencies alone to fight the illegal mining battle, hence, needed a concerted effort across the value chain.
- The Ministry subsequently established a taskforce to assist the security forces in tightening the illegal mining fight.
- The Ministry recently received an alert on illegal mining activities around Enchi in the Western-North Region.
- On Wednesday, January 19, 2022, the Deputy Minister in Charge of Mining directed the Taskforce to report to the Western–North Regional Minister and the Police Commander to assist them with security personnel for the operations.
- The team compiled with the directives, contacted the Regional Minister, and the Police Commander and duly executed the mandate assigned.
- On their way back to Accra, the task force identified an illegal mining site along the road around Manso-Amenfi and arrested two persons seen on the field.
- The Deputy Minister in Charge of Mining was duly informed, and they were advised to contact the DCE for the conveyance of the two excavators from the site to Amenfi Central District Assembly.
- A Chinese national and a Ghanaian were arrested during the operation, and they were handed over to Manso-Amenfi police.
- On their way back to Accra, after the arrest, some military personnel met them around Wassa Akropong, accosted and purported to have brutalized the team, and sent them to Obuasi Central Police Station.
- Investigations are ongoing to find out what really ensued between the military and the Taskforce.
- The Ministry is therefore encouraging the public to provide evidence of any form of extortion and the appropriate action will be taken to enhance the fight against illegal mining in the industry.