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General News of Thursday, 30 September 2021


‘Your days are numbered’ – GAF to illegal miners

Ghana Armed Forces Ghana Armed Forces

The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) has sent out a strong warning to illegal miners who have relocated their activities to other parts of the country as a way of swerving the Operation Halt team that “their days are numbered”.

In a statement signed by A La-Anyane, Commander and Acting Director, Public Relations and copied to GhanaWeb, the GAF advised persons engaged in illegal mining, “especially along the country’s river bodies and our forest reserves, to desist from these criminal activities which are seriously destroying our environment or risk being severely dealt with according to the laws of the nation.”

In the reactivated ‘Operation Halt II’ the Ghana Armed Forces have been able to flush out illegal small-scale miners from some major river bodies and forest reserves in Ashanti, Eastern, Western and Western North Regions.

“The Ghana Army, supported by the Navy and Air Force have so far cleared a total of two hundred and thirty (230) platforms and three hundred and sixty-five (365) Changfan machines covering a total distance of two hundred and sixty-seven (267) kilometers stretch of the rivers Pra and Offin and their tributaries.

“The Ghana Armed Forces continue to conduct follow-up surgical operations in targeted areas to sustain the campaign to rid river bodies of all illegal mining activities in Ghana. Areas so far cleared include Beposo upstream, Daboase, Sekyere Krobo, Sekyere Nsuta, Mamposo, Twifo Praso, Awisam up to Asaman (the confluence of River Pra and Offin),” the statement added.

The clearing team also resumed operations on River Offin and is currently at Abora within the Upper Denkyira East Municipality.

Areas along River Offin that have been cleared include Asma Camp, Denkira Foso, Badoa No.1 and 2, Kyekyewere, Buabenso, Akyempim and Dunkwa.

“A total of one hundred and ten (110) platforms and one hundred and eighty-five (185) Changfan machines have been destroyed on river Offin, covering a distance of approximately one hundred and fourteen (114) kilometres,” the statement stressed.

This statement of the Ghana Armed Forces has triggered a response from the Ghana Environmental Advocacy Group.

In a statement signed by the group's convener, Elizabeth Allua Vaah, the surgical actions taken by the Ghana Armed Forces to rid the nation's major rivers of the destructive activities of illegal miners have helped in putting the perpetrators on notice and given the said rivers a little breather from the relentless devastation.

She indicated that, it will be premature to congratulate the GAF for what they have been able to achieve.

"This is because those rivers continue to see ongoing devastation. No! Rivers Ankobra, Birim, Offin, Tano, Pra and others have in no way been spared the ongoing devastation. In fact, it continues at various points along those rivers.

"As recently as August 18, it took a contingent sent by the Western Regional Minister, and on a tip-off from our group, to dislodge several Chanfangs that had settled on a portion of the Ankobra. Even then, there were no arrests, only a handful of abandoned Chanfangs (abandoned because the perpetrators had fully paid for them by that time) were destroyed," Allua Vaah explained.

The Ghana Environmental Advocacy Group is of the view that only a sustained, smart monitoring of our rivers, and genuine and decisive action by the government, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, the Ministry of Interior, the regional and district security Councils and our Traditional Councils would result in the success that we all seek.

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