The government’s anti-illegal mining task-force, Operation Vanguard has been defending the reason why it set the equipment belonging to some illegal miners on fire.
The taskforce has come under intense backlash for burning the excavators, instead of putting them to some purposeful use.
But the Commanding Officer for Operation Vanguard, Colonel William Agyapong told Citi News that the team was constrained by the illegal miners, who were bent on frustrating them.
“I must admit that it’s not part of our mandate; we are to marshal all available resources both human and material to combat this galamsey menace so it is not part of our mandate. However, when we learnt that these items have been burnt…we had a conference with the team demanding to know why that action was taken.”
“They said that their intention was not to burn those items but they were provoked beyond their ability because these people have been playing hide and seek strategy with them. Whenever the taskforce moves to such areas, as soon as the operators see the taskforce coming, they will just immobilize the machine either by taking away the control board or immobilizing it so that we cannot even spark it and drive it to the designated places,” he added.
544 excavators moved from mining sites
The Minerals Commission in April 2017 said about 544 excavators had been moved from mining following the expiration of a 3-week ultimatum on such activities in mining sites.
The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources further ordered owners of such earth moving equipment to remove the facilities from the mining towns of have then destroyed.
90 illegal miners arrested in anti-galamsey operation
Some Ninety illegal miners who have been apprehended by government’s anti-illegal mining task force Operation Vanguard have been arraigned in various parts of the country.
The miners were arrested in some illegal mining areas in the Ashanti, Eastern and Western Regions within a period of two weeks. The task force has also seized some equipment from the miners.
The operation recorded a near setback about two weeks ago after the military personnel shot an illegal miner at Obuasi Anyimadukrom in the Ashanti Region.
Residents of Obuasi Anyimadukrom in the Ashanti Region have blocked roads leading to the town to express their anger after the anti-galamsey task force killed a resident there.