Some 90 illegal miners, popularly called ‘galameyers,’ who have been apprehended by government’s anti-illegal mining taskforce – ‘Operation Vanguard,’ have been arraigned before courts of law in various parts of the country.
The miners were arrested in the Ashanti, Eastern and Western Regions within a period of two weeks. The taskforce has also seized some equipment from them.
The Commanding Officer for ‘Operation Vanguard,’ Colonel William Agyapong said, “We have arrested as many as 90 suspected illegal miners. In Eastern Region, we arrested 29; Western Region, 58 and in Ashanti Region we have arrested 3. These are suspects and as I speak they have been sent to the various courts where appropriate prosecution procedures are being followed.”
Colonel Agyapong also added that the taskforce had seized a number of equipment the illegal miners use and destroyed others.
’Operation Vanguard,’ which comprises a joint military and police of about 400 personnel, was about two weeks ago sent to three regions – Ashanti, Eastern and Western – to flush out illegal miners.
The operation recorded a near setback last week when the military personnel reportedly shot an illegal miner at Obuasi Anyimadukrom in the Ashanti Region.
Residents of the town blocked roads leading to the place to express their anger following the incident.
Aside the near hiccup, Colonel Agyapong told Citi Fm that the operation had so far been very fruitful.
The taskforce also set about 10 excavators ablaze when it invaded Extra Gold Company and other mining sites at Akyem-Banso and Kwabeng – all in the Atiwa District of the Eastern Region.
The burning of the excavators was contrary to the Minerals and Mining Act 2015, Section 99. Details of the Offences and Penalties state that seized equipment must be kept in the custody of the police but not to be set on fire.