But for the timely intervention of a joint police-military team at Obuasi, a clash between angry artisans and officials of Anglogold Ashanti’s security personnel would have turned bloody.
Mining artisans, popularly known as ‘galamseyers’ numbering over fifty, wanted to take over a mining pit abandoned by Anglogold Ashanti at Wawase, Monse Valley in the Obuasi East District of the Ashanti Region.
Obuasi District Police Commander DSP Martin Asenso told host of the GhanAkoma on Akoma FM Aduanaba Kofi Asante Ennin that “on Wednesday, March 16, we had distress call that some local artisans forcefully wanted to take over a mining pit and mine the whole area which is within the concession of Anglogold Ashanti, so we moved in to disperse the crowd who were agitating and clad in red arm bands to establish their displeasure over what they described as neglect of the local artisans”.
Meanwhile, chairman for the small scale miners at Obuasi Kofi Adams, who tried to justify the actions of the artisans, explained that “after the ban on small-scale mining, the artisans have never gotten back their livelihoods and Anglogold Ashanti, after it was revamped, has not even recruited any of the local artisans. So, if they decide to take over an abandoned mining pit, then it means that the youth are agitated”.
“So authorities must ensure swift intervention to calm the rising tension in Obuasi.”
Mr. Adams further lamented that the unemployment issues in Obuasi is really fuelling insecurity.
A similar incident happened in Obuasi in February 2016 when some artisans clashed with AngloGold Ashanti officials which resulted in the death of the company’s Investor Relations Manager, John Owusu.