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General News of Thursday, 10 August 2017

Source: citifmonline.com

Illegal miners still resistant – Anti-galamsey task force

Government’s anti-illegal mining task-force, Operation Vanguard is facing stiff opposition from illegal miners despite the positive support and feedback.

The teams have so far arrested over 100 illegal miners in Eastern, Western and Ashanti regions since they began their work some two weeks ago.

The National Deputy Commander of Operation Vanguard,Chief Superintendent Abraham Acquaye , told Citi News that “ there are extreme provocations sometimes because when some of them see you, they want to fight back, they will tell you that it’s their source of livelihood and therefore they are prepared to sacrifice their life.”

He however mentioned their threat analysis show that they aren’t any significant threats from the illegal miners.

“We also appreciate the fundamental rights of the miners so we have sent strong worded signals to the task force that they should exercise restraint in the face of provocation, we have spoken against torture and unwanted destruction of property.”

“Our mandate is to stop the activity so we are using other diplomatic means of stopping the opposition from the miners.”

Approach work in a civilized manner

The National Peace Council (NPC) has however urged the task-force to tackle their work in a civilized manner.

Rev. Dr. Nii Amoo Darku who is a member of the NPC stated that “we are witnesses of how devastating the practice of galamsey has been destroying our farmlands and river bodies and therefore we are pleading with the government and stakeholders involved would be magnanimous in dealing with it.”

He added that “we do not want to see a situation where people are killed because we want to curb it, when that happens, people would want to fight back.”

“Therefore those who have been asked to deal with the situation must do it with a Human Face so that there wouldn’t be a situation where lives would be lost and properties destroyed as we are hearing.”

This comes after government’s anti-illegal mining task-force, Operation Vanguard said that they will not hesitate to defend themselves if they are attacked by illegal small- scale miners.

The Public Relations Officer of the task force, Major Gariba Pabi who spoke to Citi News a few days back, that any attack on them will be considered as an insult to the fight against illegal mining.

“Before we came, there were talks that they will not stop their activities in the Ashanti Region and they will not allow us to intimidate them. If it is because of that that this thing happened then it is rather unfortunate. Our aim is not to come here and attack people. We have the right to protect ourselves but we will not go out and be shooting people unless when we come to arrest you, you fire at us then we will also retaliate.”

His comment was in relation to the alleged killing of an illegal miner in Anyimadukrom during a clash between the task-force and some illegal miners in the area.