It has been revealed that a fetish priest in the Nsuta area of the Western Region forewarned illegal miners (galamseyers) in the community not to operate in the pit that caved in last Monday and killed about 17 of them.
According to some of the residents, 22 ‘galamseyers’ did not heed the advice from the fetish priest and decided to enter the old pit to prospect for gold when the tragedy occurred.
Five of the miners managed to come out from the pit but the rest were feared dead in the pit.
So far, one dead body has been retrieved and deposited at the Tarkwa Government Hospital.
DAILY GUIDE gathered that after the incident, members of the rescue team who were dispatched to the scene to help bring out the rest of the illegal miners – dead or alive – were also warned by the fetish priest not to enter the pit because another mishap could happen.
Members of the team were able to enter the pit after some rituals had been performed by the fetish priest to appease the gods of the land.
These came to light when the Deputy Western Regional Minister, Gifty Eugenia Kusi and the Regional Security Coordinator, Alex Quainoe, visited the scene of the incident yesterday.
They were accompanied by the Western Regional Police Commander, DCOP Kwesi Mensah Duku and other members of the Regional Security Council.
They were met by the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Benito Owusu Bio, who had been in the Nsuta area to assess the situation three days earlier.
Ms Kusi and her entourage also interacted with members of the rescue team.
Some of the rescuers complained that since the pit was old, it had become very weak.
They indicated that they had located some bodies in it and were working on a safer way of bringing them out in order not to record any more casualties.
“One dead body has so far been recovered from the pit in which some illegal miners (galamseyers) reportedly got trapped when it caved in on them. This was after the fetish priest had poured libation to ask permission from the gods for the rescuers to enter the pit,” Christian Tettey, one of the rescuers, told DAILY GUIDE.
When the deputy minister and her team visited the pit in which the miners were trapped, there was a bad stench which suggested that the bodies of some of the miners were decomposing.
Those who visited the scene had to use nose masks before they were able to stand the unpleasant smell emanating from the pit.
Speaking to DAILY GUIDE, Mr Benito Bio said that his ministry’s attention had been drawn to that type of illegal mining which did not degrade the environment but was killing the miners.
“Looking at the manner in which the story came out, it could happen that many people are dying and we as a ministry would not know anything about it. This is because this incident happened on Sunday and the other illegal miners themselves tried to retrieve the bodies but they could not and decided to let the cat out of the bag,” he added.