The use of military officers in the fight against illegal small-sale mining (galamasey) is worrying because their presence is creating fear and panic in the mining communities, Ben Annan, Public Relations Officer for the Small-Scale Mining Association in the Ashanti Region, has said.
According to him, although the association supports the government in its quest to flush out illegal miners due to the effects of their activities on the environment, a more effective method could have been devised to fight the menace without using soldiers.
His comments come on the heels of the killing of a suspected galamseyer by the anti-galamsey taskforce Operations Vanguard inaugurated by the government a week ago.
Speaking in an interview with Chief Jerry Forson, host of Ghana Yensom on Accra100.5FM on Monday August 7, Mr Annan said: “If the soldiers claim the miners fired the gunshot at them and in reply they also fired back killing one person, then they should provide us with evidence that the soldiers were shot at because the name of the game is evidence.”
“For us, we support the government to streamline small-scale mining activities because the rate at which the water bodies are being destroyed is too much; however, we are not in a revolution era or military dictatorship where the soldiers use brutal force to end a problem. During the military dictatorship years ago, the soldiers tormented residents at Obuasi and other mining communities, and, so, the presence of the taskforce has put massive fear into the people.
“So, for me I think the use of the soldiers in the fight against galamsey is disappointing.”