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26.11.2007 General News

Riot At Obuasi • Two Guards Injured, Five Missing

By Daily Graphic
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Recurrent skirmishes between small-scale local miners (galamseyers) in Obuasi and the mining giant, AngloGold Ashanti, have turned violent again.

Following three days of sustained attacks by the illegal miners, two security operatives working for AngloGold have sustained severe injuries, while five of their colleagues have been declared missing.

Eyewitnesses said about 35 rioting youth, armed with machetes, iron rods, stones and other offensive weapons, charged on the personnel of Ghanatta Security Services, a private security firm protecting the assets of AngloGold in the area, and inflicted severe wounds on two of the security men.

At the time of filing this report, sources within AngloGold had confirmed to the Daily Graphic that five other security men of the company could not be traced.

Those who sustained injuries in the attack were Philip Addai, 37, and Akwasi Kodie, 42, who are on admission at the AngloGold Hospital in Obuasi and the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), Kumasi, respectively.

Addai is said to have suffered multiple machete and hammer wounds, with cuts on his ears, the right wrist, the forehead and fractures on both shins.

Briefing the Daily Graphic on his hospital bed, Mr Addai said the galamsey operators had been threatening them since last Wednesday when seven of them were assigned to protect AngloGold property at the Sulphide Treatment Plant (STP) at the company's crusher site at Sanso, a suburb of Obuasi.

He said on their first night on Wednesday, the local youth organised themselves into a group and attacked the seven security personnel on duty with stones and other missiles during which one of the security men got injured.

A report on the incident was made to their superior officer. He said the attacks were renewed on Thursday night when the galamsey operators again besieged the site and attacked the security men with stones and machetes in a sustained assault that continued into Friday morning.

But the seven men escaped unhurt, while some miners assisted to repel the attacks. Speaking with difficulty and wincing in pain, Mr Addai said on Friday evening the security men on morning duty handed over to 11 other colleagues and, just then, the youth returned and intensified the attacks on them.

"Within two minutes we realised that we had been completely surrounded and that was when we realised how serious they were and how dangerous our situation was.

They started throwing missiles in our direction and followed up with machetes, sticks and hammers.
"Unfortunately, I ran into a group of them when I attempted to escape. And what happened to me was extremely shocking and painful," he explained.

He said after being hit with all manner of things, including machetes, sticks and hammers, he fell down, only to hear one of them say, “Let me slash his throat.”

"I blocked the machete with my arm, hence the huge cut on my right hand close to the wrist. And with blood oozing profusely, they thought I was dead so they left me to my fate," Mr Addai said.

He said after he had been so abandoned, he crawled towards the STP First Gate where he was spotted by a colleague and given first aid treatment before being rushed to the AGA Hospital.

An official from the AGA Security Department who confirmed the incident said both the police and AGA security personnel had mounted a hunt for the assailants.
Meanwhile, no arrest has been made yet.

Story by Collins Agyekum-Gyasi,

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