By Kofi Ampeah-Woode
The quest by the State through the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) and the Ghana Police Service (GPS) Joint Task Force (JTF), to clamp down on illegal mining activities in the hinterlands of the nation, continues unabated, inspite of the numerous challenges the agenda faces.
The JTF Forward Operation Base (FOB) Western (in charge of the western part of the country), in the early hours of Saturday March 30th, 2019, led by Captain (Capt) Dominic N Nakpaja and his patrol team, effected the arrest of seven (7) suspected illegal miners, made up of three Chinese nationals and four Ghanaians, within the general area of Amenfi Central District, in the Western Region.
The JTF, upon the arrests, handed the Ghanaians over to the Manso Amenfi East District Police whiles their Chinese accomplices were handed to the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Mining (IMCIM) taskforce, additionally giving the ministerial taskforce a seized excavator, excavator parts, excavator monitor control board and some gear levers.
Although Operation Vanguard is making a headway in the fight against illegal mining (known in local parlance as Galamsey), there are reports of rampant activities of the nefarious activities, especially in the Western North Region of Ghana, a situation that seems to erode the gains chalked since Operation Vanguard was launched, some two years ago.
In an interaction with the Press Interactions Officer (PIO) of FOB Western – Capt Andy Sowatey, he admitted the difficulties the troops undergo in pursuing their mandate, but said that the difficulties can be lessened if the locals make it a habit of offering tipoffs, for the JTF basically operates by information and not guess work. One can contact this medium for any tipoff.
Capt Sowatey also stated that all excavators and their parts, upon seizure, goes to the IMCIM taskforce but everything else is held in an evidence room on location at the JTF FOB, pending court proceedings.