We have heard about the death of a suspected galamsey operative; the first such casualty since the military offensive against illegal mining commenced. While it is regrettable that Operation Vanguard has claimed a life, we nonetheless would want to tell the recalcitrant persons in the ranks of the illegal miners that the game is over. They had better succumbed to the superior state order to lay down their tools and look elsewhere rather than engage in unproductive firefights.
The fight confronting them is a national one in which they cannot defeat the power of the state and the resolve of most Ghanaians to keep them at bay.
We are marching on against galamsey – a fight we are engaged in to protect our water bodies and environments.
Just before deployment of the troops a group of stubborn youth who claimed to be part of the galamsey business served notice that they would resist any attempt at stopping them from illegal mining. We do not want blood to be spilled which we are told the soldiers have been told in their orders to ensure.
Soldiers are human, blood and flesh with families. They do not go into battle to die but rather protect themselves against the fire of their enemies. Any attempt at firing at them would definitely attract a superior response which is legitimate.
In view of the seriousness the President and the people of Ghana have attached to the protection of the environment against the deviousness of galamsey operators, we are asking all who think their only option is to resist the efforts of the state to stop them to rethink their foolish stubbornness.
Some equipment at galamsey sites in the Eastern Region have been set ablaze and that is sufficient warning to all involved in the illegality to steer off the pits.
Our environments mean a lot to us and future generations so much that we are ready to do everything to protect them including military deployments.
To the troops on the operation they should not allow a bullet from a galamsey youth to kill them. The galamsey have been pushed to the wall, they are desperate and frustrated and would do everything in a futile attempt to protect their ill-gotten turfs. They would draw the soldiers into fights and when there is a casualty seek to win public sympathy.
We would not be surprised if they resort to firing at soldiers from concealed hideouts but we trust our officers and men whose training puts them ahead of the galamsey operators.
Let all Ghanaians join in the fight against those intent on destroying our sources of water. Sitting on the fence in all important-war like this is intolerable.
We wish to call on the relevant authorities to educate residents of gold-bearing areas about the dangers of galamsey as a way of inciting them against those involved in the illegality.