47 foreign illegal miners arrested in Eastern Region

Following a Citi News report on the influx of some foreign nationals engaging in illegal mining activities in the Fanteakwa South District and other neighbouring communities in the Eastern Region, 47 suspected illegal miners have been nabbed by the police.

The illegal miners were detained at Akyem Asamama in the Kwabeng District of the Region.

The 47 persons, who included nationals of Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali and Guinea, were arrested by a combined team from the anti-galamsey taskforce, Operation Vanguard and the Kwabeng District Police Command led by Commanding Officer, Captain Obed Asante and DSP Harold Opoku Yamoah.

48 complete sets of gold prospecting and detecting machines; amounts of GHC 6,155 CFA 69,000, Guinea Franc 30,000 and 41 pickaxes were retrieved from the suspects.

Last week, community members at a town hall meeting in Begoro, raised red flags over what they described as the influx of foreign nationals who engage in illegal mining activities in the area.

Confirming the arrest to Citi News, the Eastern Regional Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Ebenezer Tetteh said the command will collaborate with the Ghana Immigration Service for the suspects to be arraigned before court and deported if they are found guilty.

“Based on intelligence, the Operation Vanguard team, together with the Kwabeng District Police Command, conducted some operations at Akyem Asamama and saw some foreign nationals who were busily engaging in illegal mining around that area and other adjoining communities in the Atewa East District. 47 of these foreign nationals were then arrested.”

“They are from Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Guinea and are all currently in Koforidua now where we are processing them for court. We are also in touch with the immigration service so that those that need immediate deportation after we finish the court processes are deported. We also retrieved some gold prospecting devices which they use to detect where the gold is before they mine by digging big trenches, creating holes and other nuisances in those areas where we have had previous complaints,” he added.

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DSP Ebenezer Tetteh who also revealed that the fight against illegal mining in the Eastern Region is far from being over indicated that the police will conduct periodic operations to flush out the foreign nationals whose activities are endangering the lives of residents, including children.

“Other information we have gathered also indicates that the Asamama area is not the only place these foreigners are illegally engaging in mining, we want to assure that this will not be a nine-day wonder but we will conduct periodic operations to flush them out so that together we can minimize and scrap the devastating effects of their activities in the Atewa Area.”

“What they are doing is illegal and we are going to prosecute them and make sure they finish their sentences and make sure they are deported accordingly. Most of them do not have proper immigration documents and as such need to be deported. Their activities show that the fight against illegal mining is far from over so we are not going to rest. We will intensify our patrols in the areas these guys are operating in and digging pits, degrading forest reserves and polluting water bodies, and we’ll make sure we deal with them according to the law,” he indicated.