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10.02.2006 Regional News

Stop using arms against unarmed people - WACAM

By GNA

Accra, Feb. 10, GNA - Mr Daniel Owusu-Koranteng, Executive Director of the Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM) has condemned the use of arms by security men in resolving conflicts, especially in the mining communities.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview on Thursday, Mr Owusu-Koranteng deplored the alleged use of force recently by combined armed soldiers, police and AngloGold Ashanti security men in a scuffle between them and the Teberebie mining community, resulting in injuries.

He said AngloGold Ashanti wanted the community to use a new and much safer road it had constructed for the people but they preferred the use of another road through which the company was hauling ore from the mine. This disagreement resulted in the alleged scuffle. Mr Owusu-koranteng said the haulage road served as a shortcut to farms which the people had been used to over the years and that although he did not support their recalcitrance to use the new road, the use of arms against unarmed people was equally bad and unjustified. He said naturally, as mining activities affect farmlands which are the livelihood of indigenous people, it is likely they would attempt to contest anything decision that affect their perceived interest. He cited Prestea and Teberibie in the Western Region, and Sanso and Binsere in the Ashanti Region, where victims of such brutalities were left to their fate without any disciplinary action against such overzealous security personnel.

Mr Owusu-Koranteng said the companies always took advantage of the high incidence of illiteracy and poverty of the people to leave them to their fate in the face of brutalities.

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