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General News of Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Operation Vanguard takes fight against illegal mining to Central Region

The joint task force (JTF) overseeing the nationwide ban on small scale and illegal mining in Ghana, Operation Vanguard, is set to move its operations into the Central Region.

The team has concluded recceing of mining devastated communities and is already sending signals to perpetrators to fold up their activities or meet with “the force mandated the Taskforce to give full effect to the directive.”

A statement issued by the PRO of Operation Vanguard, Squadron Leader Omane-Agyei, said a seven-man reconnaissance team, led by the task force commander, Col William Agyapong undertook the exercise from Friday, 20 to Sunday, 22 October 2017.

“The reconnaissance team first called on the Regional Minister, Honourable Kwamena Duncun and the Region’s Security Council (REGSEC) and other stakeholders. The mission of the team was to formally inform REGSEC of its intended deployment in the region as the Region was the next stop”, it said.

The Operation Vanguard (JTF) Commander, Col William Agyapong and his officers at an illegal mining site in Central Region

According to the statement, the Regional Minister welcomed the team and indicated the region’s burning desire for the Operation Vanguard Joint Task Force.

Districts in the region affected by illegal mining include; Twifo-Ati-Morkwa, Upper Denkyira East, Upper Denkyira West, Assin South, Assin North, Gomoa East and Hemang Lower Denkyira.

The team later toured the affected districts to see at first-hand, the effects of illegal mining on the communities and to strategise its future operations.

According to the statement, at most of the sites visited, the team came across the wanton destruction of landscape, visibly polluted water bodies and degraded forests caused by activities of illegal mining.

“The JTF Commander Col Agyapong advised illegal miners in the Region to stop work and wait for government to streamline mining activities. He warned that government’s directive on the ban of all small scale mining and galamsey has not been lifted. He reiterated that if they do not put an end to the practice, Operation Vanguard will use all the force mandated the Taskforce to give full effect to the directive”, the statement warned.