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Soldiers not providing security for mining firms – GAF reacts

BY: Esther Lamiokor Mills
A picture of some of the private security guards
A picture of some of the private security guards

The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) has refuted media allegations about military personnel providing security for mining firms in some forest reserves across Ghana.

According to the GAF, a video from a documentary aired on Joy News on September 26, 2022, alleged that soldiers were providing security for mining firms in forest reserves.

This, the GAF says was false.

The GAF in a press release signed and issued on Friday, September 30, 2022, by the Director of Public Relations, Naval Captain Michael Addo Larbi, explained that following reports of the presence of some security persons in uniform within the Aprampramah Forest and Kobro Forest Reserve stretch in Amansie Central, a patrol team was deployed from 4 Infantry Battalion and the Central Command Headquarters in Kumasi, to conduct an operation in the general area on September 28, 2022.

Findings by deployed patrol team

It said from the operation, “the military patrol team picked up some individuals dressed in US military-pattern camouflage uniforms working for a private security firm, which has been contracted by a registered small-scale mining company named 'Elvis and Co Mining Ltd.


“These private security guards should not be misconstrued as GAF personnel because their camouflage pattern uniforms are even totally distinct from GAF”.

Attached below is a copy of the statement

REPORTS OF SOLDIERS PROVIDING SECURITY FOR MINING FIRMS IN FOREST RESERVES ARE FALSE - GAF

The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) has monitored with deep concern, a misleading report and excerpt from a documentary aired on Joy News on 26 September 2022, alleging that Soldiers are providing security for mining firms in forest reserves. In a video with some recycled content of past unsubstantiated allegations which have since gone viral, Mentiahene of Bekwai, Nana Kusi Frempong Kotobre, alleges that military personnel are providing security for an illegal mining firm operating in the Kobro Forest in Amansie Central. GAF wishes to state categorically that there are no military personnel deployed for such activities and no Soldier is providing security for any mining company in any forest reserve in any part of the country.

GAF further wishes to disclose that following reports of the presence of some security persons in uniform within the Aprampramah Forest and Kobro Forest Reserve stretch in Amansie Central, a patrol team from 4 Infantry Battalion and the Central Command Headquarters in Kumasi, conducted an operation in the general area on 28 September 2022. The military patrol team picked up some individuals dressed in US military-pattern camouflage uniforms working for a private security firm, which has been contracted by a registered small-scale mining company named 'Elvis and Co Mining Ltd. These private security guards should not be misconstrued as GAF personnel because their camouflage pattern uniforms are even totally distinct from GAF. (Pictures of some of the private security guards have been attached for ease of reference.)

In respect of the unauthorised use of military pattern uniforms by private security firms and individuals, it would be recalled that a few months back personnel of the 4 Infantry Battalion rounded up some members of a District Assembly Taskforce wearing different shades of military camouflage uniforms, captured in a viral video manhandling some civilians in the Kwabre South District. Considering that they were dressed in military pattern camouflage uniforms, they were wrongly perceived to be GAF personnel thereby drawing GAF into disrepute. Aside this, GAF has also picked up several impersonators in recent times and handed them over to the Police for prosecution.

In the same vein, the Ghana Armed Forces reiterates that it does not condone any such acts of personnel engaging in illegal and unauthorised activities especially illegal mining and wishes to assure the public that it will not shield any Soldier engaged in any illegal, unauthorised or criminal activity either in military uniform or not.

It must be specifically placed on record that in the fight against illegal mining, GAF is at the forefront and remains resolute and will therefore not countenance any conduct that will derail the progress being made. Accordingly, GAF has revamped Operation Halt II in order to intensify its surgical operations to curb the destruction of the forest reserves and pollution of the river bodies. The recent reports of the numerous arrests made, excavators seized and immobilised, and other equipment destroyed, attests to this renewed and sustained effort.

The Ghana Armed Forces therefore wishes to once again refute the allegations made and to state that its personnel are not providing security for any mining firm in any forest reserve.
However, it is prudent that the media and other stakeholders verify claims to ensure accurate information is published. GAF therefore wishes to urge Joy News and other media partners that its doors are open for the necessary clarifications to be made to ensure a balanced reportage at all times.

GAF will continue to count on the support of all Ghanaians especially the media and major stakeholders, in curbing the illegal mining in our forest reserves and water bodies and also in the clamp down on the use of military pattern uniforms by private security guards and other unauthorised persons.

SIGNED
MA LARBI
Naval Captain Director Public Relations