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31 July 2017

Don’t dare soldiers – Defence Minister tells residents in galamsey-ravaged areas

The government has warned residents in communities ravaged by illegal mining not to provoke the armed contingent of soldiers and police officers set to be deployed to tackle the menace.

Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul said at a deployment ceremony, the entire country is behind the 400 soldiers and police officers to be stationed across three regions – Ashanti, Western and Eastern.

The warning comes after a group calling itself Association of Small Scale Miners in the Ashanti Region threatened to resist the contingent to be deplored.

“Ghana will be like Ivory Coast if they dare prevent us from visiting our sites”, they said.

Other speakers including the Interior Minister, Ambrose Dery, Inspector General of Police, David Asante-Apeatu and Chief of Defense Staff Maj. General Akwa, and  urged the contingent to defend themselves with commensurate force if their lives are put at risk.

A soldier, Major Maxwell Adam Mahama, was lynched in Denkyira Obuasi where he was leading a team of soldiers to secure a mining concession run down by illegal miners.

Dominic Nitiwul defended the government’s deployment of armed personnel in the fight against illegal mining insisting that the previous use of such men was “a fire fighting approach”.

He said this time around government is in for the long haul and indicated the taskforce will be there for a long time until the practice of illegal mining is stopped.

Information Minister, Mustapha Hamid has suggested the anti-galamsey taskforce could be there for as long as two years.

Chairman of Inter-Ministerial Taskforce against illegal mining, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng used the opportunity to remind the taskforce of their professional responsibility to the Ghanaian people.

‘Some of you will be tempted with money but what is at stake is more than your personal interest,” he addressed the armed men.

Prof. Frimpong Boateng who is also Minister for Environment, Science and Technology said, officers found to have been compromised by illegal actors and collaborate in the galamsey menace, will be sanctioned.

The taskforce is headed by Colonel William Agyapong who is deputised by Chief Superintendent Abraham Aquaye.

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