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Operation Vanguard Arrests 515 Illegal Miners   
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Anti-illegal mining task-force, Operation Vanguard, has since its inception, arrested 515 culprits involved in illegal mining in the three regions it was assigned to.

The illegal miners, both local and foreign were based primarily in the Eastern, Western and Ashanti regions.

Speaking at a town hall meeting at Kenyasi number 1 in the Brong Ahafo region, commander of operations for Operation Vanguard, Lieutenant Colonel Dei Alorsie, revealed that the task force has undertaken 233 operations successfully in the three regions that have been hit severely by the galamsey menace.

He disclosed that their operations have been successful in destroying 1859 floating mining devices that were being used in destroying the country's water bodies.

Breaking the records down, Mr Alorsie said their operations within 89 days have been in 8 districts in the Eastern Region and 33 towns in 10 districts of the Ashanti Region.

In the Western Region, he said: "there are 8 districts where galamsey is so rife including Mpohor, Prestea Huni Valley, Nzema East, Amenfi East, central and west districts."

He added while addressing the public that the task force has been operational for 3 months and was optimistic that the involvement of the task-force in fighting galamsey would yield good results.

The deputy National commander of the task-force, Chief Superintendent Abraham Acquaye, said "there were extreme provocations that led to the burning of some 6 excavators in the Eastern region that makes it look like we assault people."

He mentioned that "sometimes when some of the illegal miners see you they want to fight back and tell you it’s their source of livelihood and therefore they are prepared to sacrifice their life so you fight back, but that does not mean we assault people."

The Law And Convicts

Mr Acquaye said they work within the ambits of the law and take into consideration Article 13 and 14 of the 1992 constitution that gives citizens the right to live and protect them against unlawful arrests, adding that their men had been educated to do away with unlawful arrests.

The deputy commander also revealed that 39 illegal miners have been convicted since their operations began in August. However, he bemoaned the punishment meted out to the culprits and said they were mild to deter people engaging in illegal mining.

"The law lies in the Boston of the judges so I won't say much. I hope they fasten the processes and give harsh punishments to the illegal miners," he added.

On the part of the Media Coalition Against Galamsey, Mr Kenneth Ashigbe, urged the chiefs in the area to support the government in its fight against galamsey

The convener further charged government to expedite action in the validation of small scale miners and monitor all their activities.
Source: Henryson Okrah/Peace FM News

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