Since its inception a year ago, Operation Vanguard, the joint police and military team set up to fight illegal mining (galamsey), in the country, has made 1,247 arrests.
Within the period, it has also seized 111 weapons from the illegal miners, together with 2,347 pieces of live ammunition.
The team has also siezed 233 excavators, immobilised 321 of them, seized 466 water pumping machines, immobilised 992 others, as well as seized 5,335 chanfan machines.
The Spokesperson for Operation Vanguard, Squadron Leader Robinson Omane Agyei, told the Daily Graphic in Sekondi on Sunday that 14 dynamites and 11 explosives had also been retrieved.
Operation Vanguard was launched by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in July 2017 after an intense media campaign was carried out in the country to stop illegal mining (galamsey) to save water bodies and the vegetation cover.
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On the latest activities of Operation Vanguard, Squadron Leader Agyei said the Western Forward Operating Base (FOB West), the Eastern Forward Operating Base (FOB East) and the Ashanti Forward Operating Base (FOB Ashanti) last Friday made major arrests and seized mining equipment in their respective jurisdictions.
While FOB West team arrested two Chinese at Bredi in the Amenfi Central District in the Western Region, its counterpart FOB East arrested eight illegal miners at Amuana Praso in the Birim North District in the Eastern Region.
FOB Ashanti also arrested four persons suspected to be engaging in illegal mining at Kunsu near Mankranso in the Ashanti Region.
Squadron Leader Agyei explained that the two Chinese, Liq Zing Xeon, 52, and Me Quo Wei, 48, were arrested for engaging in galamsey.
He said the team also seized two excavators, two engines, a washing machine, 13 chanfans and four water pumps and added that the seized items, together with the suspects, had been handed over to the Agona Police in the Amenfi Central District in the Western Region for further investigations.
He said three of FOB East’s eight suspects were arrested on the Pra River with chanfans.
He said the team ambushed and arrested a sponsor of the illegal miners called Nana Baffour, 46.
Squadron Leader Agyei named the other suspects as Benjamin Nsiah, 23; Adam Tamime, 49; Robert Nkrumah, 43; Daniel Mensah, 29; Gado Timolda, 32; Eric Kofi Boamah, 38, and Isaac Dadzie, 28.
He said the suspects and the items seized had been handed over to the New Abirem District Police for further investigations.
He listed the items to include two excavators, one Mitsubishi pick-up, with registration number GE 3885 – 14, one Nissan Almera, with registration number GT 4239 – 13, and some mining equipment.
The Operation Vanguard Spokesperson said in another operation carried out in the same Amenfi Central District in the Western Region, four Chinese — Tan Zhonguang, 41; Wei Wenzxue, 40; Li Shiping, 54, and Wei Hue Lim, 35 — and their Ghanaian counterpart, 44-year-old Kwabena Acheampong, were also picked up.
He said the patrol team seized a Sany excavator at the site and sent it to the Manso Amenfi Central District Assembly, together with an abandoned dysfunctional excavator.
Squadron Leader Agyei said FOB Ashanti arrested four persons suspected to be engaging in illegal mining at Kunsu near Mankranso in the Ashanti Region.
He named the four as Felix Kwaku Tuah, 24; Kwabena Naab, 28; Kofi Emmanuel, 22, and Prince Amable, 26.
He said the suspects were later handed over to the Mankranso District Police for further investigations.
He said the Ashanti team also seized three motorbikes and pumping machines and immobilised 15 chanfans.