Asanko Mines Unleashes Soldiers Again, As Bloody Clash Looms In Manso Tontokrom Over Jobs

A hastily unleashed military action yesterday dawn, by some unidentified soldiers allegedly hired by mining firm, Asanko Gold Mines on communities within its catchment areas in the Amansie South District in the Ashanti region, has left residents fuming with anger, amidst escalating tension.

The soldiers, numbering over 200, including some private security men wearing reflectors, stormed the communities such as Tontokrom, Datano and its surrounding mining sites in the early hours of Wednesday, February 21, 2024 at about 5am, to intimidate the residents and also burnt down some mining equipment.

They were said to have stormed the area in about seven vehicles – two buses and five military pick-ups, with the soldiers wielding offensive weapons.

The communities with over 50,000 residents, are largely miners who have for some time now, desperately pushing for descent job through government’s community mining flagship programme and locked horns with Asanko mines over a small piece of concession.

Even though discussions on the lingering dispute, between the residents and Asanko Mines are far advanced to have the issue resolved amicably, following some ongoing interventions by government, it remained unclear, who ordered the military deployment to the area.

Unless they kill us

Leader and spokesperson for the resident, Kwabena Aniomunyam, addressing the media said, the conduct of the Asanko mines and those who sanctioned the military action is regrettable, but the community, will not relent on their quest for job, unless they kill them.

“Going forward, if soldiers come here, all the town folks will storm the site where the soldiers lodge, so that if they want to kill all of us, they do so”, he said, adding “This is the repeated call we have been making, but government is adamant. It is rather interested in giving the Canadians and South Africans, the listening ear and they have been tormenting us with soldiers from time to time”.

Some of the residents holding placards some time ago at an event, calling for establishment of community mining

National Cake

He wondered if the people of Amansie South are not Ghanaians to also benefit from the national cake, rather than prioritizing foreigners over them to deny them jobs.

“We are asking government and Ghanaian leaders that, are Amansie South district people not Ghanaians too? Every time we demand something from government, we do not get it.

As indigenes from Tontokrom and the adjoining communities numbering about 20 towns who have been voting, we have been denied our share of the national cake”.

He said, “Our main job is mining, so we have embraced government’s Community Mining programme, so that we can have something to do. So why are we being denied the Community Mining programme, but Asanko, who are made up of Canadians and South Africans, are telling us that they will not allow us to do our work? They are always intimidating us with soldiers”.

No campaign

Kwabena Aniomunyam, cautioned that, failure by the authorities to establish Community Mining programme for the residents, they will also not take part in this year’s December 7 election and will not allow campaign activities in the area as well.

“The about 20 communities will not allow them to campaign and we will never allow Asanko to work here,” he cautioned.

He accused the mining firm of seizing their lands, where farmers find it difficult to visit their farmlands, whiles officialdom look on, but only come to them when it is time for election.

“Asanko has seized our lands and our people cannot even go to their farms, but our leaders are looking on. When it gets to election, let’s ask how many are the Asanko people?

But when it is election time, you come for campaign. If that is the case, we are telling the government that no one should dare come here to campaign, if they will not launch the Community Mining programme here”.

Mr Aniomunyam, who is also the Unit Committee Chairman of the area said, “We are begging the NPP government that Amansie South is NPP stronghold, we do not want a situation where on Election Day, our MP and the party, will be voted against. We are pleading with the NPP, even as residents when we ask for our share of the national cake, we do not get it”.

Plea for Community Mining

He pleaded with the government saying, “The land is huge, they should give a portion to us to do the mining, so that Ghanaians can have something to do, so that Asanko too can have the remaining vast land”.

According to him, “It was the government that initiated ‘One District One Factory’ even that, we have none [here]. If the Community Mining can replace that, we will be fine with it. If they are failing to do that, but will allow soldiers to intimate us then they are just destroying the area and its people. If they want to destroy the towns too, they should tell us”.

Sounding frustrated, Kwabena Aniomunyam said “We are telling leadership of this country that one day, we shall storm the site with our families to face them so that they kill us, so that all will know that NPP has destroyed it.  We voted for the NPP to come and help us, to give us jobs, now the jobs are there but you have given it to foreigners and they are intimidating us on our own land. We will not agree to this.”

More to come…




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