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10 Arrested in Crackdown on Illegal Mining in Ashanti Region

Forestry Commission Intensifies Efforts Against Galamsey with Recent Arrests in Ghana

by Adenike Adeodun

In a decisive action against illegal mining, the Forestry Commission’s Bekwai Forest District and Rapid Response Teams from four other districts arrested ten individuals involved in illegal mining activities, known as ‘galamsey’. They conducted the operation in the Oda River Forest Reserve, Amansie Central District, Ashanti Region, from December 6 to 8, 2023, marking a significant step in the national fight against this issue.

According to a report by the Daily Graphic, the team arrested seven Ghanaians and three Chinese nationals, demonstrating the Commission’s commitment to stopping illegal mining across all nationalities. Hugh Brown, the Executive Director of the Forest Services Division (FSD) of the Forestry Commission, informed the Daily Graphic about this operation. He explained that the illegal miners were working in seven compartments of the forest reserve, a designated red zone, showing the boldness of these operations.

This operation resulted in the seizure of two Toyota Hilux pick-ups, 10 excavators, 19 fuel tanks, nine power plants, two Chanfang machines, four motorbikes, five water pumping machines, and the dismantling of seven wooden structures used by the miners.

The authorities swiftly took legal action against the suspects. They arraigned seven of them—Michael Korsah, Basit Shizu, Amadu Musah, Prince Boakye, Amedodzi Kofi, Akwasi Adu, and Shi Tiachao—before the Bekwai Circuit Court on December 7. The court saw the remaining three—Bernard Sarkodie, Li Tauhai, and Rao Shifa—the next day. The police are holding all 10 suspects in custody for one week.

Brown highlighted the Forestry Commission’s firm determination to stop galamsey activities in forest reserves. He urged the military, chiefs, police, judiciary, media, civil society, and community members to join forces to tackle this threat to the nation’s forests.

The Oda River Forest Reserve has long been a center for illegal mining, leading to severe environmental damage. The Forestry Commission’s recent report shows the critical condition of the forest reserves, with 421.11 hectares of the Oda River Forest Reserve and significant parts of other reserves suffering from galamsey activities.

Brown called on community members to help protect these essential natural resources by reporting any illegal activities. He stressed that winning the fight against galamsey is vital to preserve Ghana’s forest reserves for future generations.

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