Operation Halt Soldiers Strike, Burn Galamsey Excavators, Others
The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources-sanctioned “Operation Halt II” team, deployed by the Ghana Armed Forces, have launched a fresh attack on illegal mining, popularly called “galamsey,” as they arrested, seized and destroyed various items of mining equipment in the process.
According to the Armed Forces, within a three-week period “Operation Halt II” teams seized 30 excavators, destroyed four and immobilised four others on sites.
It also burnt some 103 changfan machines, nine water pumping machines, five generator sets, two fuel storage tanks and other improvised mining equipment and structures.
The latest operation comes after the team of soldiers from the Ghana Armed Forces was re-launched on Tuesday, October 11, 2022 to continue the fight against illegal mining in forest reserves and river bodies.
In a release signed by the Director of Public Relations of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), Naval Captain Michael Addo Larbi,the GAF stated that the Operation Halt II team also “destroyed 103 Changfan machines, nine water pumping machines, five generator sets, two fuel storage tanks and other improvised mining equipment and structures.”
Additionally, the Operation Halt II team seized six motorbikes and one motor king tricycle.
According to the GAF release, “the operation was undertaken at Kade, Ofoase, Oda, and Pra Anom along the banks of Rivers Birim and Pra in the Southern Command Area of Operational Responsibility.”
It added that the exercise was also extended to the Central Command at Yawkrom, Agroyesum and Takorase, along the River Offin.
The eight suspected illegal miners were arrested at Banda Nkwanta in the Northern Command area of operational responsibility.
The release further said the arrested illegal miners were handed over to the police station, where the arrest was made.
“The suspected miners were handed over to officers at the Banda Nkwanta District Police Station,” it stated.
“The Ghana Armed Forces once again wishes to assure the general public of its commitment to the fight against illegal mining on our river bodies and in the forest reserves.
“It, therefore, requires the support of all to enforce the necessary measures in the interest of Ghana’s socio-economic development,” the release concluded.
The latest GAF operation comes few weeks after the sector minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor, directed that various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) register all excavators in their jurisdictions latest by November 2, this year.
The seven-day ultimatum warned that excavators found anywhere near river bodies after the deadline would be seized and the necessary steps taken to confiscate them to the state.
The measure was part of a raft of measures the government is taking to halt illegal mining, popularly called “galamsey.”
In a press statement issued October 24, this year, Mr. Jinapor asked the MMDAs to ensure that owners of excavators disclosed the purpose for acquisition of the machines before they were registered.
“An owner, operator, and/or user of an excavator shall, at the time of registration, specify the purpose for which the excavator is being used or to be used and the area where the excavator is being used or will be used, as the case may be,” he said.