General News of Tuesday, 8 August 2017
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah has called for calm among Ghanaians as investigators work to unravel circumstances that led to the death of a young man in Obuasi Anyimadukrom during an operation of the anti-galamsey task force.
According to him, current reports are scanty hence the need to wait for the official reports from the investigators before conclusions are drawn.
Residents of Obuasi Anyimadukrom in the Ashanti Region over the weekend blocked roads leading to the town to express their anger after they claimed the anti-galamsey task force had killed a resident there.
The task-force clashed with some illegal miners who reportedly fired shots at them and pelted them with stones.
But according to Simon Osei Mensah, the reports circulating may not be factual.
“We are trying to investigate the issue as to whether the warning shot from the task force killed him or maybe the supposed gunshot that they heard from elsewhere… What is important now is that the situation is calm and there is no cause for alarm, let us wait and see the end of the investigation,” he said.
Speaking on Eyewitness News on Monday, he said although there is the possibility of the task force mistakenly gunning down the deceased, the reports available to him does not suggest they did so.
He added that the task force administered first aid to the victim after they discovered him injured, few meters ahead of them when chasing illegal miners.
He said the deceased died on arrival at a Hospital.
Mr. Osei Mensah, however, called on persons interested in small scale mining to exercise restraint as the government works to regulate the space and open up for approving new licenses in a few months’ time.
“There is still a ban. Let us exercise some retrain and let the government come up with the strategies and those who want to go into mining will go,” he said.
The task force named, Operation Vanguard was dispatched last week to clamp down on the illegal activity in the Ashanti, Eastern and Western Regions and enforce the country’s laws against the practice which has devastated the country’s land and water resources.
Many have argued that the move is a major step in the fight against the illegal activity.
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, however, allayed such fears, saying the taskforce will not attack Ghanaians but focus on its role in fighting galamsey.
Even before the taskforce began its work, the Minister for Defence, Dominic Nitiwul had cautioned Ghanains to cease daring the task force. He said, it will not be in the interest of Ghanaians to do so.
Dominic Nitiwul said the state was behind the task force hence the team must not be challenged.
“I will make it straight to the people who are daring the task-force not to do that because the country is behind the task force. Don’t dare them. It will not be in your interest to dare them… They will do everything and anything to make this mission a success,” he said.