The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources has issued a strong warning to unauthorized persons and groups parading themselves as security officials deployed to help the government’s anti-galamsey efforts.
He said they have been disbanded and must cease operation with immediate effect.
In a statement addressing the issue, the minister said the government’s ongoing security operation to fight illegal small-scale mining dubbed “Operation Halt” is being conducted under the instruction of President Akufo-Addo and being overseen by the Ministry of National Security, noting that other groups claiming to be part of the operation must desist from making such claims.
“It has come to the attention of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources that certain unauthorized “Task Forces” and/or security operatives have taken advantage of the ongoing Operation Halt to harass small scale miners across the country… The operations of all such unauthorized Task Forces and/or parallel Security Outfits should cease and be disbanded with immediate effect,” the statement said.
Earlier this week some 19 persons who claimed to be national security operatives were apprehended by the police in the Eastern Region for illegally mining gold in the Atewa forest reserve.
The suspects, some of whom were in military and police uniforms according to the Kade District manager of the Forestry Commission, invaded the reserve in Akyem-Akateng onboard a Toyota Land Cruiser V8, with sophisticated rifles at dawn on Tuesday, under the guise of clamping down on illegal miners.
This development, some analysts say, must be checked to avoid setting back the government’s fight against illegal mining.
Mr. Abu Jinapor said he has an “unwavering commitment to realize the national policy on small scale mining, which is to preserve our water bodies, forest reserves, and sanitize the sector.”