It has been confirmed that six illegal miners were killed in a galamsey pit at Wassa Manso in the Mpohor District of the Western Region.
The six alleged illegal miners were trapped in the huge galamsey pit on Thursday after it caved in at about 3 pm.
The lifeless bodies of the six persons were later retrieved with an excavator and deposited at the Effia-Nkwanta Hospital morgue pending autopsy.
A visit by DAILY GUIDE to the accident scene at Wassa Manso yesterday showed that illegal mining is still rife in the community despite a war against the practice.
Assemblymember for Manso Electoral Area, Livingston Ankomah, said the deceased person had allegedly refused to comply with the order to lay down their tools and were still in the business of illegal mining.
“We have consistently been advising the youth of the town to go into farming when a ban was placed on illegal mining but some recalcitrant youth in the area continued to engage in galamsey,” he said.
According to him, the mining site where the incident took place was even earmarked for the government's community mining programme and that the assembly had begun the processes.
Stephen Kwofie, who claimed to be the caretaker of the site, claimed that at about 4:30 am last Thursday, he saw some of the illegal miners at the site and realized that the pit could cave in so he asked them to move away.
“I told them to move from the area because an excavator was supposed to move to the site to clear some portions as part of the community mining programme,” he said.
He said that later he left the area and heard that the pit had caved in and had trapped about six persons.
“So I quickly rushed to the site and later reported the case to the police. I later gathered that out of the six persons killed only two hailed from the area,” he remarked.
He said they were aware that two of the deceased were indigenes from the town and gave their names as Kwabena Muchu and Abieku Maley but said the rest are not from the area and could not identify them.
He asserted that four of the bodies were first retrieved and put into a tricycle from the site to the town where an ambulance later conveyed them to the morgue in Sekondi and added that the last two bodies were removed at about 5:30 pm.
DSP Olivia Adiku, Public Relations Officer of the Western Regional Police Command, confirmed that the police in Wassa Manso received a report about that incident at about 10 am and when they got to Ataase near Manso where the pit is located, they detected that there was a landslide where some workers had been trapped.
She said the police saw a group of people busily digging to rescue the trapped persons.
“Six male bodies yet to be identified have so far been retrieved from the site and deposited at the Effia Nkwanta Government Hospital mortuary pending identification and autopsy,” she said.