Members of the anti-galamsey task force set up by Adansi Traditional Council (ATC) have allegedly been assaulted by a group of illegal miners at Amponyaase, in the Akrofrom district of the Ashanti region, when they attempted to halt their illegal operations.
Information available to The Chronicle indicates that the four-member task force was attacked by over forty illegal miners wielding machete, stones and clubs among others.
A land rover vehicle with registration number GT 4777-09, which was being used by the task force was vandalised, with one of the taskforce members reportedly struggling to gain his sight.
The Chronicle picked up information that when the police got wind of the attack, they rushed to the scene to rescue the task force members and also arrested some of the illegal miners who were granted police enquiry bail last week Saturday.
The commander of the task force, John Korletey, told The Chronicle that on Saturday, May 27, this year, around 1pm, he got information that a group of illegal miners were busily digging for gold at a village called Amponyaase.
According to him, he and his colleagues proceeded to the village and indeed saw the illegal miners working.
When the task force enquired who gave them the go ahead to mine after the Asantehene, His Royal Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and Adansi Traditional Council (ATD) had directed that all illegal mining activities should cease in the Ashanti Region, the illegal miners mentioned one Aunti Ama, who, he continued, asked members of the task force to wait for her as she was on her way to the site, which they obliged.
John Korletey further told The Chronicle that when the lady finally arrived, she started questioning them about the one who sent them to the place and when they answered that it was the Adansihene, the lady responded that the area was not under his jurisdiction.
According to him, the moment Aunti Ama responded that the mining site was not under the jurisdiction of Adansihene, her employers pounced on them and started beating them with all kinds of offensive weapons. The illegal miners also mounted a barrier to stop the task force members from fleeing the site.
John Korletey, however, regretted that the illegal miners who were rounded up by the police were given bail a few hours later. He, therefore, called on the authorities to investigate the conduct of the police.
When contacted, the District Chief Executive (DCE) for Akrofuom, Mr Maurice Jonas Wood, confirmed the incident to The Chronicle.
When asked if indeed illegal mining activities were being carried out at Aponyaase, Jonas Wood responded in the affirmative, saying “I should think so. I am saying that because this is not the first time we have encountered such a mob action.”
According to him, sometime last year, a task force set up by the assembly came under attack at the same Amponyaase and when they ran to the community, they were rescued.
A white Nissan pick-up vehicle belonging to the assembly was vandalised. “They attacked my task force too, yes, they destroyed the vehicle they went with, it is an official vehicle with our name boldly written on it -a white Nissan pickup hard body.”
The DCE further disclosed to The Chronicle that the illegal miners poured petrol on the Nissan pickup of the assembly and nearly set it ablaze.
Maurice Jonas Wood regretted that after reporting the incident to the police at Obuasi, on November 25, 2022, no arrest has been made.
“We do not know what they are doing on it at the moment; we have even written to them to tell us why they have not taken any action against those guys,” the DCE told The Chronicle.
The DCE promised to hold a District Security Council (DISEC) meeting on Monday (yesterday) to discuss the incessant attacks on the galamsey task force by the illegal miners and their collaborators.
Meanwhile, the paramount chief of Adansi, Opagyakotwere Bonsra Afriyie II, has waded into the issue and condemned the attack.
He told the media, through his aide, that he suspected some of his chiefs and regents are thwarting his effort to stop illegal mining in the traditional area.
He has, therefore, appealed to the minister for National Security, Albert Kan-Dapaah, Inspector General of Police (IGP) George Akuffo Dampare to open investigation into the case.