Illegal Miners Invade Kyebi Township

Residents and property owners of Kyebi in the East Akyem Municipality are living in extreme fear as they are uncertain whose property will be affected next by the incessant digging within the Kyebi Township by illegal miners. Administrators, head teachers of schools and property owners affected by these ceaseless digging for gold revealed that they had stopped school children and wards from partaking in any form of activity outside their homes and schools. This is to avoid death or injury around these open pits on their compounds. Mr Twum Ampofo of Christhead Institute Primary and JHS told Citi News that the school’s administration had instructed all children not to use the school field which has been taken over by the illegal miners again for fear of injury or loss of life. The Kyebi School for the Deaf popularly called KIDEAF, Christhead Institute, Kyebi Community Technical Institute and the Abuakwa State College (ABUSCO) as well as Kyebi Pano and Zongo areas are the most affected in this besiege by galamsey operators. A structure which was constructed by the Japan Government for the Kyebi School for the Deaf to be used as workshop is also on the verge of closure by authorities for fear of a disabled child falling in one of the pits; some of which have been filled with water due to recent downpours in the area. The once enviably crystal clear and clean Birim River which stretches through the Akyem Abuakwa and other areas in the Eastern region has also not been spared by these illegal mining activities as they have blocked its original course and diverted it through a little tunnel to enable them dig the area for their illegal mining activities. People who used to rely on the Birim River for various household chores in the Kyebi Township disclosed they could not use it again because the level of pollution was unbearable. “It is very worrying and dangerous because you don’t know which of your properties will be destroyed next as they are digging every nook and cranny of Kyebi in the name of gold mining”, WO (Rtd) Boateng disclosed. “Look at this,” he continued (pointing to an open pit behind his house) “apart from the cracks on my building, I’m also scared one of my children will fall in one of them one day.” He further added that all efforts to get the illegal miners who he alleged had links with the Queenmother of Kyebi to cover the pit have proved futile because “they have the power behind them. So I’m helpless”. One of the illegal miners who spoke on basis of anonymity narrated stories of how some of the illegal miners unknowingly fell in one of the pits from a bicycle and died in Esiken a suburb of Kyebi a couple of weeks ago and this has been corroborated by the Kyebi police. Police Officers in Kyebi explained that all attempts to bringing the situation under control have proved futile.