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20.06.2005 Regional News

Assemblyman condemns role of security personnel at Prestea


Obuasi, June 20, GNA - Mr Benjamin Annan, assembly member for Sanso, a mining community near Obuasi, has condemned the action of the security men who fired into the crowd during demonstration by some mining communities at Prestea in the Western Region last Thursday. The demonstrators from Prestea, Himan, Bondaye and some mining communities around Prestea protested against surface mining by Bogoso Gold Limited that had brought some health hazards to the people and the degradation of the environment.

Seven people including a boy aged 12 received gunshot wounds. Mr Annan told the GNA in an interview that such interventions by the security agencies had motivated mining companies to treat mining communities with absolute contempt.

He appealed to the government to ensure that mining companies respected the rights of the people in the communities they operated in. He was of the opinion that the Prestea communities did not hold the demonstration out of the blues but might have sent a number of petitions to the authorities that were not answered.

Mr Annan said it was like Sanso where the community had sent petitions against the operations of AngloGold Ashanti (Obuasi) to the past and present governments but no action had been taken. "I appreciate the problems facing the mining communities in Prestea because it is a similar situation Sanso community finds itself with regard to the operations of AngloGold Ashanti (Obuasi) mine." The assembly member said abuses on mining communities by mining companies had not met any government intervention.

''The communities are not satisfied with the way their human rights are being trampled upon but for the sake of the President's policy of the rule of law, the mining companies would have packed their equipments and left.''

He appealed to the Ministry of Lands, Forestry and Mines to see to it that mining companies respected the rights of the people to promote healthy relationship between them and the mining communities.