An anti-galamsey taskforce in the Aowin District of the Western Region are accusing the Police of intimidating them in a bid to prevent them stop their fight against illegal mining activities in the area. According to the taskforce, the police who have consistently failed to support their efforts, also released persons arrested for illegal mining in the area.
The Queen mother of the Enchi Traditional Area within the Aowin district according a leading member of the taskforce, Philip Koah, was worried about the effects of galamsey, thus formed the taskforce to stop teh act in the area after efforts to get the authorities to take up the issue failed.
“On 15th of March the group embarked on a swoop and four Chinese illegal miners were arrested.
At another site too we arrested three Chinese miners bringing the number seven. Some mining tools were also seized in evidence including a Nissan Pickup.
All these seven Chinese men, the items and the vehicle were handed over to the Police. Amazingly, three of the arrested Chinese miners were able to escape from police custody that very day and the remaining four in a matter of hours were granted bail. The vehicle was also released to them,” he added.
Mr. Koah who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Max FM in Enchi, in an interview on the Citi Breakfast Show on Monday lamented that they were not pleased about the situation because “in spite of all our achievement, we feel that we the leaders and members of the taskforce are being intimidated by the Police.”
“Over the period that we were handling that issue, for the police to even receive the suspects we brought from the swoop was a problem but they received them after several persuasion.
Several times the police invited us, the issue was not about the illegality the suspects had committed but the allegations the suspects made against us. The police keep threatening the members of arrest.
The allegation is that the suspect complained about their missing gold, money and other things and they suspect the group.
We are not saying the police should over look this but the manner in which they go about it is appalling.”
Mr. Koah further said they have petitioned the Western Regional Command and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) on the matter. “The Queen mother is peeved.
She called a press conference and expressed her disappointment in the Police. She sent a message to the IGP and I’m very sure in the coming days we will hear something good on that.
Aowin is a forest area and it will be very difficult for someone to be able to make a count of the number of illegal sites. But we have made our search from the minerals commission and have come to the realization that no one has been given a license for small scale mining in Aowin.
So all these people we see around in the forest and water bodies, none of them is licensed and it is very widespread. We have sent seven Chinese miners to the district police and we recently made another swoop and arrested four others.
They were directed to be sent to the regional command. It is just a few days back and we have not seen anything yet but we are hoping something will be done.”
This comes on the back of intense pressure being mounted on government to stop illegal mining also known as galamsey in the country following reports that Ghana may soon be importing water if nothing is done.
Currently, some water treatment plants have been shut down over activities of illegal miners, which have rendered water bodies from which the plants harvest water for processing useless.
The harmful effects of galamsey has also led to the destruction of many farmlands, which serve as livelihood for a number of families.