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09.12.2002 General News

Security On Alert At Prestea

By Chronicle
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The western regional security council (REGSEC) has put security men who are currently patrolling the Prestea township on a 24hour alert, following an intelligence report that a section of the Prestea people has plotted to blow off the bridge over river Ankobra to prevent Bogoso Gold Limited (BGL) from bringing down their machines to carry on its mining operations in the town.

Before one enters Prestea, which is linked with only one road from Bogoso, whether one likes it or not one would have to cross the bridge over the Ankobra which they are now threatening to blow off.

The Western regional minister, Hon Joseph Boahen Aidoo who disclosed this to the Chronicle when he was contacted on his cell phone last Saturday, said a number of security measures which he did not disclose has also been taken because the DISEC saw the threat as a real one that must not be joked with, especially when the people have been using dynamite to do illegal underground blasting in the Prestea township.

According to the minister so far they have not obtained the names of those behind the plot but he suspects it might be a section of the Prestea community opposed to BGL coming to do mining in the town.

Mr. Aidoo said there are various avenues those who are opposed to the BGL operations can resort to in order to have their grievances addressed. The regional minister further told the Chronicle that just recently information got to Accra that BGL had sacked all the galamsey people from their newly acquired concession, thus throwing the place into a state of confusion.

Aidoo said, after receiving this information, he dispatched security men to Prestea to ascertain the truth, but the report turned out to be false. According to him when they got to Prestea, the galamsey people were busily working on the BGL concession without any harassment from the management of BGL.

After going round the place continued the minister, they met the management of the BGL to find out whether they were, indeed, harassing the galamsey people.

According to the Minister the BGL management denied harassing the people working on their concession. He said BGL, however, told them that when they work up to a portion of their concession and the galamsey people are working there, they (BGL) would be compelled to drive them away.

Hon Aidoo who has been frequenting the Wassa West district because of the numerous problems there said the galamsey people had also taken the advantage of the BGL’s leniency to deliberately sink a hole of about 2000 feet in the ground at an area which is rich in gold, instead of doing the surface mining they have been allowed to do.

The regional minister regretted that after taking advantage of all these things which they are doing without any harassment, a section of the people are still not satisfied and are now threatening to blow off the main bridge over the Ankobra which could cut off Prestea from the rest of the country.

He reiterated his call on the disgruntled people to use all available legal means to have their grievances, if any, addressed. He warned that if they do not heed to his advice but still make attempts to blow off the bridge, the laws of Ghana would deal drastically with those who would be caught since the security men stationed there have been put on a high alert.

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