Crime & Punishment of Sunday, 14 July 2013
Eight Burkinabe illegal miners have been arrested in Wa East by a combined team of police and soldiers led by the Upper West Regional Minister, Dr. Ephraim Avea Nsoh, during an operation at some mining sites.
They are Abdul Rashid Lengam, 18, Abdul Alidu Adam, 30, Jampo Nuhu, 29, Jampo Ayuba, 18, Ali Abdul Aziz, 18, Bukari Dabiri, 46, Asafo Dauda, 24, and Musah Adam, 30.
According to them, they buy the tailings from the illegal miners and use cyanide [chemical used in extracting gold] on them and recycle them to extract gold.
The Burkinabe mentioned one Sulemana Issah as a local agent, who brought them to the site while their main sponsor is one Dabiri Braimah, also a Burkinabe.
Dr. Nsoh was unhappy with the extent of damage caused to the environment and the risk that people face as a result of the activities of the illegal miners in the communities. He said the Burkinabes would be treated in accordance with ECOWAS protocol and the laws of Ghana.
He appealed to members of ECOWAS to respect and abide by the laws of the ECOWAS Protocol.
According to him, government would not allow people to come to Ghana and take the law into their hands by indulging in activities that were detrimental to the lives of the people.
Dr. Nsoh stated that the Regional Security Council and other stakeholders would bring sustained pressure to bear on those who had made illegal mining in the region their business.
The Upper West Deputy Regional Police Commander, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Mr. Duku Ampofo said the Regional Security Council would take a decision on the Burkinabes after the Police had finished their investigations.
The Wa East District, which hitherto was grappling with issues of underdevelopment, now has to deal with environmental challenges following the invasion by illegal miners [galamsey].