The three suspects
The arrest of three soldiers for their engagement in acts of impropriety while on galamsey duties is a bad story.
When snippets of such conduct by some security personnel deployed for the Operation Vanguard duties came to light, such was dismissed as lies by the authorities.
Bad nuts would always be found in groups of humans; we would only hope that the authorities would learn their lessons and probe matters when they make it to the media space.
Every organization, be it military or police or even the media itself, is a microcosm of society and would therefore contain those with negative tendencies. Screening exercises would be undertaken in various forms before enlistment but even then bad nuts would slip through; their negative qualities popping up one day as in the case under review.
We are unable to mention the name of the Commander of the Operation Vanguard mission at the time but his reaction was as swift as it was full of anger when word went round that some of the soldiers and cops were not helping the cause of the mission. The reports at the time were not intended to disparage the Operation itself and the spirit behind it, not at all. They were intended to alert the commanders to be mindful about the acts of impropriety being perpetrated by the black sheep among the deployed security personnel.
Now that the cat is out of the bag, we expect that more would be done to ensure that the remaining black sheep – as there are still some within the fold of the mission – are identified and isolated.
The war against galamsey is dear not only to the President but the people of Ghana in whose interest it is being waged to save our rivers, sources of water for the country and our degraded environment, from further contamination and degradation respectively.
Anybody who would stand in the way of its success should be dealt with according to the law; the arrested soldiers not exceptions. That is why for us, this case should not be pushed under the carpet.
Such pockets of indiscipline, as in the case of soldiers who descended on police personnel and attracted a bad press, have the tendency to infect others in the colours: the effect of which can only be imagined under the circumstances.
It is not for us to prescribe what action to take against these soldiers but returning them to their units and closing the chapter cannot be an option, we can bet.
We ask that traditional authorities are involved in the war and locals in the areas where illegal mining is endemic and must be encouraged to report Operation Vanguard personnel who are in league with the galamsey players.
Let us accept that there are black sheep within the fold of Operation Vanguard and deal with them otherwise we would only be pouring water into a basket.