April 24, 2024

Tensions reached a boiling point on Thursday January 11,2023 as a near violent clash occurred between the police and the Anti-illegal mining team of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) at Brofoyedru, in the Ashanti Region.

The COCOBOD Anti Illegal Mining Unit was in Old Atatam and its environs in Fomena District to engage with cocoa farmers and miners, emphasizing the crucial need to protect cocoa farms from the detrimental effects of illegal mining.

Shockingly, farmers and miners revealed that a team of police officers had been extorting money from illegal miners every week, essentially supporting and facilitating illicit mining activities.

The situation intensified when ten police officers from the Obuasi District Command, aboard a police vehicle with the service registration number GP 3401, were spotted returning from the illegal mining sites.

Efforts by COCOBOD officials to question the police personnel further fueled the confrontation, leading to a pursuit.

On reaching a police barrier at Brofoyedru, one of the vehicles aboard by a COCOBOD official ahead of the team stopped blocking the escaping police vehicle.

The escalation took a dangerous turn when the police threatened to shoot COCOBOD officials if they did not give way.

Despite attempts by the police to conceal their identity, the COCOBOD Anti-Illegal Mining team successfully captured the vehicle details, including registration number GP 3401, and identified two officers involved—P. A. Abdellah and one Amidu.

“The COCOBOD team was informed that the Police have arrived, going round taking money and removing parts of the excavators from the miners. The Police later met COCOBOD officials on their way who tried to stop them but the police refused, upon reaching a barrier at Brofoyedur, they were obstructed by one of the COCOBOD’s vehicles and the two teams clashed, one of the Senior Police Officers threatened to shoot the COCOBOD officers in the heat of confrontation” Head of COCOBOD’s team, Prof. Michael Kwateng narrated.

Prof. Michael Kwateng, head of the COCOBOD Anti-Illegal Mining Unit, highlighted numerous tip-offs about police complicity in illegal mining, causing frustration among farmers as their cocoa farms faced continuous invasion.

Nonetheless, he reiterated COCOBOD’s unwavering commitment to curbing illegal mining activities, stating the need to safeguard farmers and their vital cocoa farms.

COCOBOD officials are urgently calling upon the Inspector General of Police Dr. George Akuffo Dampare to conduct a thorough investigation into the alleged involvement of police officers in illegal mining.

COCOBOD projected to purchase 850,000 tonnes of cocoa last year but fell short due to the influence of illegal mining and smuggling.

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