Operation Vanguard arrests 1,687 illegal miners so far

BY: Timothy Ngnenbe
Operation Vanguard
Operation Vanguard

Some 1,687 illegal miners have so far been arrested by the joint security task force dubbed “Operation Vanguard”  deployed to help stop ‘galamsey’ activities in some parts of the country.

The task force was deployed to the Western, Central and Ashanti regions on August 1, 2017 to arrest all persons engaged in illicit mining activities and also seize the equipment used by the galamseyers.

As of the end of August this year, 1,567 people had been arrested.

The number, however, increased when an additional 120 illegal miners were apprehended between September and October this year.

Western Region

The Commander of Operation Vanguard, Colonel Jackson Wonje, who disclosed this to the Daily Graphic in Accra, said the Western Region had become the hottest spot in illegal mining activities in the country.

According to him, the region accounted for about 70 per cent of all arrests made by the Operation Vanguard team.

“I took over as the new commander on September 6, this year. I can tell you that for the month of September, 70 illegal miners were arrested, while more than 50 have also been arrested this month (October).

“It is interesting to note that 70 per cent of these arrests are from the Western Region.

The galamseyers are not giving up on their activities and we are not relenting in our efforts to weed them out either.

If they won’t give up, we will continue to take the battle to them to ensure that we fulfill the mandate given us by the government in the interest of the country,” he stressed.

“I do not want the public to be alarmed by these numbers from the Western Region.

Rather, it is an indication that the Operation Vanguard team in that area is more active,” Col Wonje added.

Challenges

According to the commander, some persons served as informants on the movement of the Operation Vanguard team to the galamseyers, thus making it difficult for them to be apprehended.

Col. Wonje, however, stressed that the security personnel were on top of their brief because they always relied on alternative plans to close in on the illegal miners.

He said although the team faced some logistic and equipment challenges, they would not relent in delivering their mandate.

The commander further called for support from other stakeholders, including members of the public, to help smoke out the illegal miners and restore the country’s land and water resources.

Some 1,687 illegal miners have so far been arrested by the joint security task force dubbed “Operation Vanguard”  deployed to help stop ‘galamsey’ activities in some parts of the country.

The task force was deployed to the Western, Central and Ashanti regions on August 1, 2017 to arrest all persons engaged in illicit mining activities and also seize the equipment used by the galamseyers.

As of the end of August this year, 1,567 people had been arrested.

The number, however, increased when an additional 120 illegal miners were apprehended between September and October this year.

Western Region

The Commander of Operation Vanguard, Colonel Jackson Wonje, who disclosed this to the Daily Graphic in Accra, said the Western Region had become the hottest spot in illegal mining activities in the country.

According to him, the region accounted for about 70 per cent of all arrests made by the Operation Vanguard team.

“I took over as the new commander on September 6, this year. I can tell you that for the month of September, 70 illegal miners were arrested, while more than 50 have also been arrested this month (October).

“It is interesting to note that 70 per cent of these arrests are from the Western Region.

The galamseyers are not giving up on their activities and we are not relenting in our efforts to weed them out either.

If they won’t give up, we will continue to take the battle to them to ensure that we fulfill the mandate given us by the government in the interest of the country,” he stressed.

“I do not want the public to be alarmed by these numbers from the Western Region.

Rather, it is an indication that the Operation Vanguard team in that area is more active,” Col Wonje added.

Challenges

According to the commander, some persons served as informants on the movement of the Operation Vanguard team to the galamseyers, thus making it difficult for them to be apprehended.

Col. Wonje, however, stressed that the security personnel were on top of their brief because they always relied on alternative plans to close in on the illegal miners.

He said although the team faced some logistic and equipment challenges, they would not relent in delivering their mandate.

The commander further called for support from other stakeholders, including members of the public, to help smoke out the illegal miners and restore the country’s land and water resources.

Recall

The Daily Graphic reported in its September 27, 2018 issue that galamsey had resumed in full force in the Prestea Huni Valley Municipality in the Western Region.

The galamseyers were said to have resorted to the use of sophisticated technology that made it difficult for their activities to be tracked.

According to the story, the Second-in-Command at the Western Forward Operation Base (FOB), Superintendent of Police Mr Robert Kobil, claimed that illegal Chinese miners interfered with their communication gadgets, making it difficult for them to be tracked.

He said the galamsayers had also installed some devices in their excavators and heavy-duty equipment that made it impossible for the Operation Vanguard team to move the machines anytime they were seized.

Mr Kobil lamented that the team had only two outboard motors to monitor illegal mining activities in the Western Region.


The Daily Graphic reported in its September 27, 2018 issue that galamsey had resumed in full force in the Prestea Huni Valley Municipality in the Western Region.

The galamseyers were said to have resorted to the use of sophisticated technology that made it difficult for their activities to be tracked.

According to the story, the Second-in-Command at the Western Forward Operation Base (FOB), Superintendent of Police Mr Robert Kobil, claimed that illegal Chinese miners interfered with their communication gadgets, making it difficult for them to be tracked.

He said the galamsayers had also installed some devices in their excavators and heavy-duty equipment that made it impossible for the Operation Vanguard team to move the machines anytime they were seized.

Mr Kobil lamented that the team had only two outboard motors to monitor illegal mining activities in the Western Region.

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