A Twenty-Nine year old mother of one was killed when an illegal mining pit otherwise known as a galamsey pit, caved in on her at Manso Domenase in the Amansie West District of the Ashanti Region. Akosua Bema, together with several others, was in the pit digging for gold when the incident occurred.
Three other people who sustained various degrees of injuries were rushed to the Agroyesum Hospital where they were treated and discharged.
One of the survivors, Fuseini Adams, narrating the incident to Ultimate Radio said,”it happened around 3:00pm when we were busily digging for gold. The deceased was sitting close to me on one side of the pit when all of a sudden those at the top begun shouting for us to come out. We couldn’t see it coming and before we could get out, the pit collapsed on us” he said.
He said he got saved because the sand and stones broke unto his lower body and so he was later pulled out by residents around. He said the woman was not fortunate as she got deeply trapped under the sand.
“She was pulled out unconscious and rushed to the Agroyesum Hospital where she died later” Fuseini narrated.
The Husband of the deceased, Akwasi Ofori, told Ultimate Radio, his wife is originally hairdresser who lives at Abuakwa but occasionally visited Manso to help with some galamsey activities to raise some money before she leaves.
He said he was with her wife all night till that morning when she informed him she was going to work.
“I couldn’t go with her this time round because I had severe pains in my arm. Only to hear later that the pit she was working in had caved in. I went to the place and saw her under the heap of sand and dug away the sand to pull her out and rushed her to the hospital,” he narrated in tears.
Amidst tears, he told Ultimate Radio’s Nana Oye Diabene, they had a one year old baby who was going to turn two the following day. Struggling to hold back his tears, he intimated, “in fact, I regret ever leaving my wife to go do galamsey. She has sadly left me and our only baby behind”.
Meanwhile the Police in Manso say they are overwhelmed with the illegal mining menace in the town as no amount of disasters or police swoops and arrests have succeeded in compelling residents to desist from engaging in it.
Manso Police Commander, DSP Yaw Asubonteng told Ultimate Radio, the overwhelming number of pits dug and abandoned by the Chinese had become the most busy spots in the town with both men and women trooping there every day to prospect for gold.
“The Chinese abandoned the pits and now the women go in there with their items to prospect for gold and that is all they do here. Some get drowned because of the stagnant water in it. Others also are not lucky and it caves in trapping them to death. That is what happened to her, and in fact she wasn’t alone. They were many prospecting for gold over there when the incident happened” he divulged.
Narrating their frustration, he said “when an accident happens and you go in to take the victims out, you can come back and find some other people in that same pit because they believe that gold thrives on human blood.”
Another concern he raised was to do with children either dabbling in the galamsey activity or playing into these pits. He said several children had died in the area when they went out into the fields to play. Some he said drown in their attempt to go swim in the abandoned pits which had gathered pools of stagnant water.
The District Chief Executive for Amansie West is also baffled with the situation as he admits his outfit cannot do much because the district lacked enough resources to fight the menace.
Speaking to Ultimate Radio’s Nana Oye Diabene, Alex Bonsu indicated “Amansie West is the biggest in the country because if you start from Pekyi Number Two, we share boundaries with the Western Region and the Central Region. You move to one side and you hear they have moved to another side. So we are constrained with the number of men and logistics.
Alex Bonsu said in the interim they had begun sourcing for assistance at the regional level. He gave assurances his outfit had begun looking at ways of legalizing the mining activities so they could be duly recognized as small scale miners to help control their activities.