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11 August 2017

Burning excavators: Don’t use lawlessness to enforce the law – Victor Smith to ‘OV’

Former Eastern Regional Minister Victor Smith says the indiscriminate burning of seized excavators on galamsey sites by the special anti-illegal mining task-force, ‘Operation Vanguard’ amounts to lawlessness and must stop.

“We’ve got to find a good solution to this problem. We all accept it because we cannot sit aloof for the galamsey activities to destroy us as a country, but you cannot use lawlessness to enforce the law.”

Operation Vanguard made of up armed Military/Police personnel reportedly invaded Extra Gold Company at Akyem Banso in the Eastern region and set some excavators of the company ablaze.

They’re said to have reportedly fired several gunshots at the premises of the company Monday.

The taskforce also invaded the mining sites of other miners working under lease concession of Extra Gold limited, where two of the miners have been arrested while others escaped.

Commenting on the development, Mr Smith, said the approach by the OV taskforce is problematic and makes nonsense of the good fight to eliminate the menace.

He told Kasapa 102.5 FM Friday that:”You can confiscate the equipment to the state; give it out to Highways Authority, the District Assembly or other state agencies that the equipment may be of use to them, but to set it ablaze it’s simply lawlessness.”

He adds:” If the affected persons file a civil suit against the state it is in order.”

At least, 26 illegal miners have been arrested so far by the ‘OV’ taskforce and one person killed during a confrontation with the team in Kumasi.

The Akufo-Addo government  has declared war on galamsey since taking over the reins of power.

Over the last seven months, it has taken a number of steps to end the menace including suspending the issuance of new licences for small-scale mining in the country. It has also successfully seen over 1000 illegal mining equipment withdrawn from mining sites across the country, with the most recent action from the state being the deployment of armed Military/Police personnel to galamsey sites across the country to wipe out galamsey activities.

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