Thirteen (13) illegal miners have been arrested by the task force of the Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners (GNASSM).
The suspects including some West African Nationals were arrested at Accra Village, Mampong, Nkatieso, Mokyere, and other places operating on the Birim river.
The GNASSM Taskforce commander Don Chebe said close to hundred (100) chanfai and water pumping machines were burnt while others retrieved.
“We came across people who were washing into the rivers directly,so as a taskforce commander I want to assure the public that we are not going to stop this operations it will continue till they put an end to it. We have arrested 13 people so far most of them are Ghanaians and some few foreigners, investigations are still going on to find out more about this people who have been arrested”
He added “even though it is not easy to arrest them we have also adopted strategies to clamp down on these people. Since we are faster than them and all my men are divers we dived on the Birim river in order to even arrest some of them. We arrested some of them on the Birim river and others on the outskirt of the river. We have destroyed getting to almost 100 chanfai machines on the Birim river”
The Vice President and Secretary of GNASSM Sampson Kofi Wiredu and Godwin Armah respectively said the operation is to augment effort by government to clamp down on illegal miners whose activities continue to create mess in the mining Industry.
“these arrested people are in police custody at Koforidua central police station.We expect the law to deal with these illegal miners who have been arrested to deter others from such act because if these people are left to go free then it means our effort to curb the menace will be in vain”
“Infact Ghana national association of small scales miners are very serious about this exercise, we do not intend to prevent people from doing mining but we would have wished we all use the legal laid down means to do mining, this is what we are expect from anyone who wants to mine. We expect nobody to mine in our rivers and destroy the water bodies, that is why we are collaborating with the ministry to embark on this exercise with the minister to curb this problem”.
The communication director of GASSM Razak Alhasan said illegal miners continue to threaten the water quality of Birim river in the Eastern Region, therefore, every effort will be made by the Association to protect it.
“We have identified that the Birim river has become a hotspot for these illegal activities. These illegal miners are very stubborn. So we are using the Birim river to make sure that those who are washing in the river and on the river bank itself are apprehended and make sure they face the law”.
Razak Alhassan stated that the association together with the security has deployed strategy to fish out the financiers of these illegal miners.
“We are looking for those who sponsored them and sent them to do this illegal mining, some of them don’t even know the names of those who are managing and sponsoring their activities, example was one Voltarian who was not able to identify his boss name. These are the people we are looking for, we had information that even some of the chiefs and sub-chiefs are behind these illegal mining activities, we are working hard and we will make sure that all these people are arrested to face the law”.
Meanwhile, a total of about 27 pieces of illegal mining equipment were burnt in a special joint Military and Police Operation led by the Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources George Mireku Duker in Eastern and Ashanti Regions.
The burnt equipment include 19 chanfai mining machines and eight(8) water pumping machines.
The team also burnt a number of tents being used by the illegal miners as shelter.
Six suspects including some West African Nationals were arrested during the operation conducted on September 30,2021.