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General News of Wednesday, 5 April 2017


Galamsey could escalate tensions with Cote d’Ivoire – Kwesi Aning

The cancer of illegal mining, also known as galamsey, that has gone unchecked in Ghana could escalate already existing tensions with neighbouring Cote d’Ivoire a security analyst, Dr. Kwesi Aning, has warned.

The analyst noted that a number of Ghana’s rivers polluted by galamsey run into Cote d’Ivoire and are threatening the livelihood of its nationals.

Dr. Aning’s comments follow the revelation that Cote d’Ivoire has expressed displeasure with Ghana over the activities of illegal miners and the resulting pollution, which they say is affecting water bodies in their country.

Ivorian authorities have complained that water bodies that take their sources from the Western region of Ghana are heavily polluted and the situation is expected to worsen if unchecked, according to the Minister of Environment, Science and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng.

The far-reaching effects of illegal mining in Ghana are slowly coming to the fore in Cote d’Ivoire with the country’s semi-public water distribution company, SODECI, recently shutting down a water treatment plant because of the levels of pollution in the Bia River, which enters Cote d’Ivoire from the Western Region.

Speaking on Eyewitness News, Dr. Aning indicated that these diplomatic considerations presented yet another reason why the fight against illegal mining was at crisis levels, as he outlined some of the already existing friction between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.

“It could be something considerably more serious. We already have a couple of contentious issues with Cote d’Ivoire. We have the maritime boundary issue that is unsettled. We have land boundary issues. We have cocoa, rice and sugar smuggling issues. We have some of their earlier rebels in town. So the galamsey issue coming on top of all these unsettled and all these unresolved challenges could be considerably more dramatic,” he explained.

Dr. Aning explained further that a number of Ghana’s rivers crisscross the boundary with Cote d’Ivoire adding that “quite a substantial portion of our boundaries between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire are actually just demarcated by rivers.” “So polluted rivers in Ghana flowing across the boundary into Cote d’Ivoire and polluting their rivers and underground source of water, threatening livelihood could worsen the tensions that are already in existence,” he stated.