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General News of Wednesday, 6 December 2006

Source: GNA

Four 'Galamsay' workers shot

... BGL office vandalized, one car burnt; one dead?
Tarkwa (W/R), Dec. 06 (GNA) - Four people sustained gunshot wounds at Prestea on Wednesday during a clash with the police in connection with 'galamsey' operations.

The four are Isaac Kwofie, 38, Akwasi Oppong, 33, Joseph Mensah, 34 and Isaac Tetteh, 33, all galamsey operators.

Dr. Kennedy Azantilow, Medical Officer in-charge of Prestea hospital told Ghana News Agency (GNA) in a telephone interview that Kwofie sustained gunshot wounds in the abdomen and was operated upon and some pellets removed.
He said the rest sustained injuries on the neck, face, thighs and other parts of their bodies.

However there were conflicting reports that some people were dead as a result of the clash but Dr Azantilow said no dead bodies were brought to the hospital as a result of gunshot wounds.

Briefing GNA in a telephone interview, Alhaji Adamu Zurkanaine, an Assemblyman for Prestea Cemetery road said about 1000 hours, Police and military vehicles loaded with security personnel went to Himan near Prestea to collect "Sump" belonging to the Galamsey operators.

Sump is gold-laden sand which is processed to retrieve gold by Galamsey operators.

He said habouring the anger of stopping them from operating galamsey in the area, the operators charged on the security personnel to prevent them from collecting the sump.

In the process, the operators mounted a blockade on the road leading to Himan with lorry tyres and set fire to it, thereby blocking the personnel from carrying away the sump.

Alhaji Adamu said the Security Personnel called in the Fire Service to quench the fire but could not withstand the wrath of the galamsey operators as one of them removed the ignition key of the fire tender and therefore the fire officers had to ran away.

At this juncture, he said the situation was getting out of hand and as such the security officers fired into the crowd and the four sustained gunshot wounds.

He said the windscreens of the Fire tender have also been broken. Alhaji Adamu said the information of those who had sustained gunshot wounds got to Prestea where in reaction a lot of people rushed to Golden Star Resources (Bogoso/Prestea) Limited, formerly Bogoso Gold Limited (BGL) offices and on seeing the mob, the civilian security personnel at the place ran away and the mob burn one vehicle and broke glass windows of the offices. He said calm has returned to Prestea as soldiers have taken positions in the offices of BGL and the town.