The Anti-galamsey military task force (Operation Halt) has reportedly returned to the mining site of the ruling New Patriotic Party, Women’s Organizer for the third time to burn a generator plant and a wooden office structure at the mining site.
The military also assaulted security men on duty.
“They returned on Saturday, sprinkled patrol on the generator plant, and around our office facility and set fire into them. They burnt everything in the room including the Television set, DSTV decoder and our personal belongings,” Nana Asante Boadi Yeboah Secretary at the mining site told Starr News.
He said, “the security men were deployed by the Company to protect the site so people don’t come around to steal but they were beaten by the military with the butt of the rifles”.
Operation Halt taskforce on Sunday, May 16 2021, invaded the mining site of Kate Gyamfua at Akyem Pameng in Atew West District in the Eastern region and set ablaze eight excavators, a bulldozer and dozens of water pumping machines.
Three of the burnt excavators and a bulldozer were brand new being used for reclamation.
The military returned Monday, May 17, 2021, at about 4:00 pm to burn a faulty bulldozer that escaped their notice and large water pumping machines.
So far a total of nine excavators, two bulldozers, five smaller generators, a generator plant, 150 small pumping machines, 250 gallons of diesel have been burnt, the office structure and other items have been destroyed.
Management of Xtra Gold Ghana Mining company under whose concession Kate Gyamfua was mining in her capacity as General Manager, has maintained that it is not operating illegally, that, it has all valid documents to mine.
However, the Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, has explained that licensed mining companies will be treated as illegal miners if their activities pollute water bodies.
“What they did not know is that we are not touching the licenses. It is the illegalities we are touching. Our target was protecting water bodies and their tributaries, not your license.”
“You can have a license but if you were destroying the water bodies, the soldiers were supposed to make sure that they take out the equipment that you were using. So soldiers were not out to inspect licences,” the Minister explained at a press conference held in Accra on Wednesday, May 19, 2021.
Mr. Nitiwul also defended the decision of the military to burn the mining equipment of miners operating illegally.
According to him, it wasn’t just the NPP executive’s company that had been affected by the work of the task force.
“Maybe because they [other mining companies] don’t have a political voice, they were not making noise. But their equipment was destroyed as well,”