Some of the suspected illegal miners after their arrest within the Manse side of the Anhwiaso East Forest Reserve
Some of the suspected illegal miners after their arrest within the Manse side of the Anhwiaso East Forest Reserve

Forestry Commission nabs chief, 9 others - For illegal mining

The Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) from the Rapid Response Unit (RRU) of the Forestry Commission has arrested 10 people for illegally mining in the  Manse portion of the Anhwiaso East Forest Reserve in the Western North Region.

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Those arrested on the dawn of November 29, included the chief of Manse, Nana Kwame Sobre II.

They were arrested during a swoop at the Manse side of the Anhwiaso East Forest Reserve near Diaso in the Bibiani Forest District of the Western North Region.

The RRTs also immobilised two excavators and two heavy-duty generator plants found at the illegal mining site.

Suspects

The nine other suspects gave their names as  Osman Shaibu; Nana Kwasi; Desmond Nkrumah; Abraham Donkor; Frank Mensah; Richard Kurofie; Patrick Ayambila; Abdul Salam and Rasad Nuoeeikaa.

They have all been granted bail after their arrest and initial detention at the Dunkwa Police Station from where they were transferred to Sefwi Wiaso to be processed for court.

In their statement, the suspects claimed that the first suspect, Nana Kwame Sobre II, was the one who recruited them into the illegal mining business.

Operation

The operation, coordinated by the Forest Services Division Headquarters and the Rapid Response Unit, was part of the sustained and routine operations the FC has been embarking on to flush out illegal miners who have entered the Reserve with heavy machinery and destroyed the forest cover and polluted water bodies through their illegal mining operations.

These illegal acts are alleged to be backed by some top political actors and traditional authorities in the region.

Speaking to the press, the Coordinator of the Rapid Response Unit, Samuel Darko Akonnor, issued a strong warning to all such perpetrators to desist from such acts as the Forestry Commission was determined to fight them to save the nation’s forest and wildlife resources, as well as water bodies for now and posterity. 

Fight against illegal mining

The Forestry Commission has since 2018, waged a war against illegal mining in the country’s forest reserves in a bid to protect the country from the devastating impact of illegal mining on the green belt and water bodies.

The commission, since the operations began, has deployed several strategies in the fight.

These have included the regular swoops, arrests and seizures and decommissioning of equipment used for illegal mining in forest reserves.

Also, they push for the prosecution of illegal miners arrested.

In recent times, 964 frontline field officers of the commission have been trained by the military to boost law enforcement.

In addition to that, the commission has procured 1000 pump action guns for the trained officers to boost morale and the capacity of frontline staff to protect forest reserves.

Additionally, surveillance, intelligence gathering and monitoring of illegal mining activities in forest reserves have been intensified to ensure early detection and arrest of perpetrators.

While pursuing this drastic line of operation, the FC has also consistently held stakeholder engagements and education on the adverse effects of illegal mining on the environment to garner public support to fight the menace.

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