The Ghana Armed Forces is investigating the Commanding Officer of the Southern Infantry Battalion in Takoradi for allegedly protecting small scale miners without authorization.
Lieutenant Colonel George Noble Hoenyedzi is reported to have positioned five of his men at a galamsey site at Maafokrom in the Central Region to protect the miners.
A highly placed source has disclosed the illegal mining site belongs to some Chinese who had some Ghanaians fronting for them.
Joy News’ Manasseh Azure Awuni visited the community and reports the water bodies have been polluted leaving residents dependent on satchet water for their daily needs.
An indigene who works for the Chinese told the reporter the soldiers are there to provide protection for the mine against armed attacks.
“This is a mining site and it is gold we are dealing with so we need some security,” he said.
Joy News source at GAF said the soldiers are there to provide protection for some licensed large scale and small scale miners in the community.
The development comes at a time there is a chorus of opposition against the activities of illegal miners that are polluting the country’s water bodies and destroying the vegetative cover.
The Tano River in the Brong Ahafo Region has dried up for the first time in 40 years, a development residents have blamed on unrestrained activities of illegal miners.
Also, the Brim River in the Eastern Region and River Ankobrah in the Western Region have been muddied making it impossible for the Ghana Water Company to treat the water from these rivers for consumption.
Lands Minister, John Peter Amewu, has suggested excavators seized from the miners have to be burned down to discourage the practice.
Lands Minister, John Peter Amewu
He told Kojo Yankson on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Thursday, the equipment used by the miners are responsible for the destruction caused the environment.
“How do you take cocaine and say you are keeping it?” he asked. “You must destroy it for the public to see that it is a wrong thing. What is happening is not different from an illegal trade.”
The investigation into the alleged protection of the illegal mine by the military personnel has been seen by a section of Ghanaians as a good step in the fight against the practice.
Meanwhile, available information indicates Lieutenant Colonel George Noble Hoenyedzi has been recalled to Accra to avoid possible interference with the investigation. He is likely to return to his base if he is cleared of the charge.