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21 August 2017

Operation Vanguard begins night patrols to smoke out evasive illegal miners

The joint police and military anti-illegal mining taskforce, Operation Vanguard, says it will extend operations into the night following intelligence that illegal miners have resorted mining after 5 pm.

The taskforce had restricted its patrol of illegal mining sites between 0600 to 17:30 GMT.

However, the spokesperson for the taskforce, Major Gariba Pabi, revealed the night patrol that is set to begin soon is part of an elaborate change in tactics to root out the illegal miners who remain unwavering in their activities despite the clampdown and many arrests.

Over 100 illegal miners have been arrested in the Ashanti, Western and Eastern regions since the deployment of the taskforce earlier this month.

“The illegal miners go for their operations in the night because they think we don’t come in the night after them. However, we have timelines for our operations and soon we will commence night operations and we will come after them,” he told Joy News’ Favour Nunoo in a phone conversation.

Meanwhile, Joy News’ checks reveal that, in the Eastern Region, most illegal miners work late in the night and immobilise their earth moving equipment to divert attention from the anti-galamsey taskforce. 

The government commissioned the Operation Vanguard two weeks ago to scale up the fight against relentless and sometimes armed illegal miners dotted around mineral-rich sites in the Ashanti, Eastern, and Western regions.

The current administration has vowed to stamp out the illegal mining activities that have destroyed water bodies and entire ecosystems.

At least five illegal miners have died in clashes with the task force recently,

Related: One dead as Operation Vanguard tastes major clash with illegal miners

Related: ​Galamsey war “going well” as 15 more suspects arrested

Seized mining equipment have been set ablaze, prompting concerns that the deployment of the joint security forces could be heavy handedness in dealing with the issue.

 

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