Elizabeth Mills Robertson - Ag. IGP A combined team from the Police and the Military last Tuesday marshaled their accoutrement and stormed Beposo, a farming community, near Sekondi to arrest illegal miners, also called “Galamsey operators”, doing small scale mining in River Pra.
The river, which is the main source of drinking water for residents in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis and beyond, has its cause from the Central Region, passes through Beposo and enters the sea at Shama, in the western region.
The activities of the illegal miners, according to residents along the river bank, had polluted their main source of drinking water, resulting in the outbreak of diseases such as dysentery and cholera in the community.
The combined team of security personnel with two speed boats from the Ghana Navy, managed to retrieve 42 drilling machines that belonged to the illegal miners and dismantled a platform the galamsey operators had created with empty barrels on the river.
The team also arrested seven of the illegal miners, who according to a police source, were put before a Sekondi magistrate court on Wednesday.
Briefing DAILY GUIDE on what prompted the operation, ASP Augustine Anyara, Sekondi District Crime Officer, explained that the police received various complaints from residents along the river bank on the adverse effects of the activities of the galamsey operators in the river.
He said following the complaints, some security personnel were dispatch to Beposo on March 17, 2009, to assess the situation.
According to ASP Anyara, the security personnel learnt that apart from polluting the river, the activities of the galamsey operators increased the cost of treating the drinking water supplied by the Ghana Water Company to residents in Sekondi-Takoradi.
He said the security personnel, who were from the Navy, the Police and the Second Battalion of Infantry (2BN), visited Adeakyewobio, Sekyere Heman and Daboase all communities along the river bank, and appealed to the illegal miners to remove all their machines and move from the area within a week after explaining the dangers associated with their operations in the river to them.
The Sekondi police crime officer added that the illegal miners did not heed to the appeal, so the combined team of security personnel stormed the area as early as 6.00 am on Tuesday to embark on an operation to halt the activities of the galamsey operators.
He said in the process, seven of the illegal miners, whose ages were not immediately known, were arrested and mentioned their names as Ben Agbeshie and Joseph Dorgbaze.
The rest were, Jacob Nogbaze, Kwasi Mensah, Nana Awusi yaw Asare and Kingsford Okine.
“If the operation we have embarked upon will not scare the illegal miners, then we will sustain the exercise until we finally drive them away,” ASP Anyara concluded.
From Emmanuel Opoku, Sekondi