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General News of Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Source: 3news.com

Galamsey operators declare sites ‘no-go area’

Some small-scale illegal miners, popularly referred to as galamseyers, have declared their operation areas within some forest reserves in the Suaman District of the Western Region a ‘no-go area’.

The more than 2,000 illegal miners in March, this year, threatened to kill the chief in the area, residents and anyone who dared to invade the area in an attempt to stop their operations in the forest reserves, which have destroyed river bodies.

In March, they destroyed the official vehicle of the then District Chief Executive and that of the Ghana Immigration Service and the Customs. Christian , the District Chief Executive of Suaman, told Takoradi-based Connect FM that they are waiting for the police-cum-military galamsey taskforce, Operation Vanguard, to come to the district to stop the illegal miners.

He explained that several letters to authorities to intervene is yet to receive attention. Mr Baah indicated that the fate of the district now lies in the hands of the Operation Vanguard team.

Suaman District Police Commander, Supt. Joseph Ackah admitted the number of illegal miners in the area far outweigh that of the police, hence they would require external support to battle the galamseyers.

Devastation

The Suaman District, which was carved out of the Aowin-Suaman District in 2012, has now been invaded by galamseyers, who have caused devastation to forest reserves and river bodies in the area.

The Sui Forest Reserve has been destroyed while the Bia River, which serves as the main source of drinking water and extends to Cote d’Ivoire, has been polluted.

A delegation from Bianoa, an Ivorian town affected by the activities of the galamseyers, visited Suaman to ascertain the cause of the pollution of the Bia River.

According to the delegation, the pollution has damaged their dam and has also caused them to lose their economic activities. Regent of Suaman Traditional Area, Nana Osei Kofi said he has personally devoted some amount of money and other resources in ensuring the activities of the illegal miners are halted.

He, however, observed that those efforts are yet to achieve results. Nana Kofi also added that they now live in fear as their lives are being threatened by the illegal miners.