General News of Wednesday, 6 December 2017
The police in Upper West have burnt three chanfan machines and other accessories of illegal mining on the banks of the Black Volta in the Lawra District after operators abandoned the machines at the sight of the security men.
This followed an exercise at the region’s most famous illegal mining hub where illegal mining activities have seriously polluted the Black Volta.
The police operation was led by the deputy regional commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police Edward Oduro Kwarteng, with the Regional Crime Officer, Superintendent Huseini Musah Awinaba, and two other senior police officers and 15 other ranks in support.
The team was also accompanied by the chief executive for Lawra District, Patrick Bomba-Ire, personnel of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) at Lawra District, the district police commander, and the assembly man for Bagri community.
DCOP Oduro Kwarteng told the media that no arrests had been made so far, but the regional police command was still searching for the culprits for prosecution.
Youth in action
He said about 12 youth working their machines which were mounted on wooden platforms over the river bolted into Burkina Faso territory on seeing the security team.
He said the team sought and received assistance from some locals in the community who helped them reach the banks of the river to access the chanfans before pulling them out of the river to destroy them.
The exercise, he said, was prompted by intelligence about the return of youth engaged in illegal mining – popularly referred to in local parlance as galamsey – to the river where their activities had polluted and caused massive destruction to the flow of the Black Volta already.
DCOP Oduro Kwarteng said the police viewed galamsey in the region and in the Black Volta as a threat to the recently commissioned $55.5 million Wa Water Project, and would attach every seriousness to stop the activity.
Upper West Region is one of eight regions where galamsey activities have thrived in recent times.
Operation Vanguard, the body constituted by government to fight illegal mining in all regions except Greater Accra and Volta regions where such activities are absent, is yet to take its activities to Upper West Region.