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GOVERNMENT INTENSIFIES GALAMSEY FIGHT - As Military-Police move into action

General News

Four Hundred security men drawn from the Ghana Police Service and the Ghana Armed Forces have been deployed to counter the activities of illegal miners in the Ashanti, Western and Eastern regions of the country.

Four Hundred security men drawn from the Ghana Police Service and the Ghana Armed Forces have been deployed to counter the activities of illegal miners in the Ashanti, Western and Eastern regions of the country.

 

This was made known at a ceremony held at Burma Camp yesterday to launch the anti-galamsey operation named, ‘Operation Vanguard.’

Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, cautioned that nothing would stop the taskforce from achieving their aim of ending galamsey.

“I will make it straight to the people who are daring the taskforce not to do that because the country is behind the task force. They will do everything and anything to make this mission a success,” he said.

He said it was worrying that most of the country’s water bodies had been destroyed, stressing that the act must not be allowed to continue.

Mr Nitiwul further revealed that even though previous efforts at addressing the problem involved troops sent on a few day’s mission, the “Operation Vanguard” are to stay in the affected arrears.

The troop had undergone initial two-week training at the Bundase Training Camp to equip them with the necessary orientation, guidelines and essential skills for the operation.

The Inspector General of Police, David Asante Apeatu, said the deployment of a National Anti-Galamsey Task Force was not to intimidate citizens but to stop the unacceptable behaviour of illegal mining which was destroying the environment.

Mr Asante Apeatu assured that its members had received requisite training to accomplish the task.

"The leadership of this joint effort can assure the nation that it has prepared the officers for this unique task," the IGP said.

"Honourable ministers, I want to assure the communities we will be deploying that, everyone should be free to go about his or her normal duties.

The deployment is not a force to intimidate anybody but rather a force to stop unacceptable behaviour that we all as citizens abhor. I will like to thank the government for this bold effort to save our land, forests and water resources," Mr Apeatu said.

The IGP said he was confident that the multi-targeted approach adopted by Operation Vanguard would end galamsey.

For his part, Chief of Defence Staff, Lieutenant General Obed Akwa, served notice that failure is not an option in the fight against illegal mining.

“Indeed, as I said in Bondase, failure is not an option, we shall put an end to all forms of illegal mining activities,” the CDS said.

Addressing the anti-galamsey taskforce in Bundase, before their deployment, the Lands and Natural Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu, stated that mining in river bodies and along waterbeds is a treasonable act that would not be tolerated.

 “I hope that when we tell this story, it will be a story of success. You are being tasked to go and stay and stop this. I know that the men and the women of the Ghana Armed Forces are professional, and the men and women of the Ghana Police Service are professional and you will do a professional job. We believe that this group will stop illegal mining and stop it forever,” he said.

The deployment of the joint military and police team is another major step in the fight against the illegal activity that has become a great concern to many Ghanaians.

Many have expressed the belief that the involvement of the military in stopping illegal mining would achieve more results and ultimately help stop the menace across the country.

Dominic Nitiwul had in the past expressed his desire to authorize the deployment of military personnel to stop the activity.

He said at the launch of the operation that the government would provide all the necessary resources to ensure that the team succeeds in the operation.

Yesterday, during the a mid-year review of the 2017 Asempa Budget in Parliament, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta, said job opportunities would be created in the oil palm plantation sector for the youth as alternative livelihood for these galamseyers.

“Over 500,000 job opportunities in oil palm plantations and regulated small-scale mining will be created under a five-year Multilateral Mining Integration Project project,” Mr. Ofori-Atta stated.

The Finance Minister stressed the government is committed to the anti-galamsey fight hence the outdooring of the ‘Operation Vanguard’ made up of a joint military and police task force.