Unlike previous attempts to flush out illegal miners from Ghana’ s water bodies and forest reserves, the government has announced that all equipment that will be seized under a new effort to end galamsey will be destroyed on- site.
The operation which involves the deployment of 200 military personnel started last Wednesday and already nine excavators, 127 changfans (washing machines), and one fuel pump which were being used for illegal mining in the river Pra have destroyed [detonated] by the military.
The exercise on the Pra dubbed ” Operation Halt” ended Thursday and it also resulted in the arrest of two Chinese nationals at Anttieku near Twifo Praso in the Central Region for illegally mining in a forest reserve.
Addressing a press briefing on the military operation which was sanctioned by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo, the Minister of Defence, Mr Dominic Nitiwul said the Chinese had been handed over to the national security for further interrogation and would be prosecuted.
He said: ” It is noted that since the commencement of the operation, the troops have destroyed a good deal of equipment including nine excavators, 127 changfans- machine platforms associated with mining equipment and one fuel pump, ” Mr Nitiwul said.
” Furthermore, the following items have been seized and would be destroyed except items that will be used as exhibits in court. The items include 8×24 plate batteries, one pump action gun case, a generator, Huawei phone, chainsaw machine, eight raincoats, fuel filters, non- citizen Ghana ID cards, two drilling equipment, and two boots. These items will be destroyed except what the police deem necessary for their work for prosecution. “
He continued: ” The law already outlaws mining within the river bodies and 100 metres to each of the flanks of the river, if you do any activity there it is an illegal activity.
The President has directed that we clean up the river bodies and like I said, we are not taking any equipment home, we are not seizing any equipment, no equipment will be returned home.
It’ s not like before where you will seize equipment, they will all be destroyed on- site, it is as simple as that. ” So, there is nothing like we are taking excavators, nothing will come home, everything will be destroyed at sight” .
Addressing concerns that the state may face judgement debts from destroying equipment belonging to illegal miners, the Minister of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said the government is ” convinced that no court will give judgement debt to an illegal miner on a waterbody. . . whose machines have been destroyed.
We are fortified in our view that no court will grant such a person a judgement debt” .