The ongoing crackdown on illegal gold mining activities has resulted in the arrest of another set of 22 people, including a Chinese national, at some mining sites in two districts of the Ashanti Region.
The arrests were made by members of the Ashanti Regional Forward Operating Base (FOB) of Operation Vanguard at Datano and its environs near Manso Nkwanta in the Mansie West District, and Asiwa in the Bosome-Freho District over the weekend and last Thursday respectively.
Spokesman of the taskforce, Squadron Leader Robinson Omane Agyei, said 18 of the suspects apprehended at the Datano area were Michael Adzeoda, 24; Kwesi Ofori, 34; Alfred Techi, 25; Edo Amema, 18; Akpalu Louis, 24; Prince Johnson, 19; Samuel Asiedu, 25; Ataa Bottey, 32; and Samson Kollan, 26.
The rest were James Banson, 21; Sunday Asuri, 18; Mohammed Moro, 29; Ibrahim Duut, 25; Akwesi Asamoah, 20; Kofi Nyantekyi, 20; Jacob Kwame, 20; Michael Azuri, 29; and Pukimbia Lamban, 45.
He explained that the remaining four persons – Emmanuel Latsu, 23; Dzila Kwesi, 26; Yaw Gyamfi, 32; and Wisdom Gbaffa, 36, were arrested at Freboye near Asiwa in the Bosome-Freho District of the Ashanti Region.
Squadron Leader Agyei disclosed that the team in the process immobilized 11 ‘changfang’ machines and a carpet used for washing sand suspected to contain gold concentrate at the mining site.
According to him, all the four suspects and the seized items were taken to the Asiwa district police command for further investigations while the other 18 people, including a Chinese, were sent to the Datano police station for action.
He said the team again immobilized three excavators and destroyed 15 ‘changfang’ machines at the various mining sites during the operation.
Other seized items included three water-pumping machines, two excavator control boards, two excavator monitors, one excavator gear lever and three mobile phones.
More than 1,000 people have been arrested recently after renewed crackdown on illegal mining operations in the country, following the ban on the activities by government.
But many of the miners have remained adamant despite assurances and plans to lift the ban after proper structures and measures to regulate the sector have been put in place.
The taskforce has warned recalcitrant offenders to be prepared to face the law if caught.