‘Notorious’ Miner Okoben Terrorizes Residents Again

…2 Shot, Chief Flees Palace; As Community Threatens Reprisal Attack If…

The Chief and people of Abolabo, a mining community in the Nzema East Municipality of the Western Region, have had to run for their lives, after some hoodlums numbering about 65, invaded the community with guns and cutlasses, leaving two of the residents severely injured.

The community, this paper gathered, was held hostage for hours, amidst sporadic gunshots, forcing the Chief of the town, Nana Dominle Mienzah II and some of his elders, to flee the palace and their homes for safety.

Residents told The Anchor, the attack was masterminded and spearheaded by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Okoben Mining, Nana Okoben Amponsah.

They said, the miner who has gained notoriety in using thugs, is unhappy that his mining concession, has allegedly been taken away from him and given to another miner with alleged connivance of chiefs, even though his permit has expired.

Nana Dominle Mienzah II, who also confirmed the incident to the newspaper yesterday said, he cannot sleep peacefully in his own house anymore, as the community is now living in fear. According to him, this is not the first time the owner of Okoben Mines, is leading thugs to terrorize residents.

“Okoben came with about 60 thugs and attack us, that we should leave there. They came with cutlasses, pump action guns. In fact, we run away and don’t even know where to hide. I and some elders and the youth, run away from the village,” he confirmed.

This paper is informed, the incident which occurred two weeks ago on April 7, 2024, has left one of the victims, Richard Adado and another, allegedly battling for their lives, due to the gunshot wounds.

Videos and pictures of the incident obtained by The Anchor, showed the thugs wielding cutlasses and some offensive weapons, whiles firing indiscriminately.

The case has since been reported to the Axim Police Command for investigation.

The chief vowed that regardless of the attacks, the community will still not want him on their land, adding “the land is for us, it is not for him [Okoben]. He is an Ashanti man, and we are Nzema” hence should stay off.


Reprisal Attack

They threatened that, this time around failure by the security and law enforcement agencies to take any action about the case, the community, will take the law into their own hands, in the events that Mr Nana Amponsah, popularly known as Okobeng, unleashes his thugs on them again.

They narrated that, the popular small-scale miner, invaded the Abolabo community on that fateful day with about 65 heavily built men, commonly called ‘machomen,’ even though they have been informed, his mining permits for the said concession in question has expired.

According to them, by the time the police were called to intervene, Okoben and his thugs, had already absconded the area with the vehicles that brought them.

The community prior to the attack, had protested against Okoben over what they described as continuous destruction of their lands through alleged illegal mining activities otherwise called ‘galamsey’.

Okobeng, who is a household name in the Western region, particularly the Wassa enclave, has been accused of engaging in galamsey, destroying water bodies and degrading the land.

Earlier Shooting

This is not the first time, the CEO of Okoben Mining is being accused of unleashing thugs on the residents of the catchment area of his mining operation.

In 2022, a 34-year-old man and father of three, was left with life-threatening wounds, following an alleged gun attack on him by the popular small-scale miner for allegedly trespassing on his mining concession.

The victim, Rockson Asuo, said he was shot personally, together with one Dziwornu Agbado by Nana Amponsah Okobeng for allegedly intruding on a mining area he claimed belongs to him.

The incident occurred at a village called Ampansie, in the Nzema East Municipality, on July 14, 2022, but the victim was left to his fate, even after the matter was reported to the police in Axim and Takoradi.

Till date, nothing has come out of the case, since the matter was taken to court.

But narrating his ordeal on Accra-based United Television, (UTV),the victim who is bedridden at the time said, he is unable to do anything, because he still has one of the bullets in his body, which is yet to be removed.

“Up till now I still have the bullet stuck in my body. We have done all we can but we brought this issue to the regional commander in Sekondi and he handed it over to the Axim Divisional Commander, but till date nothing has been heard,” he said.

The distressed victim, who has his children, wife and parents to cater for, has now been rendered useless, as he is unable to go to the farm as he used to.

The helpless man, who has no legal representation in the case, is calling on the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Dr George Akuffo Dampare, to launch an investigation into the matter for him to get justice, since he is being handed a raw deal by the police, because of the powerful status of the miner.

Rockson, said the case was initially reported to the Regional Commander in Takoradi, following which the police chief handed the matter to the Axim Divisional Commander but, unfortunately, he has failed to get him the needed outcome.

The businessman, on the other hand, has not been heard of, while he, the victim, continues to live with the bullet in his body.

“As a breadwinner, I have three children, my wife, father and my mother to cater for, but due to this injury, I am unable to perform my responsibilities. As I sit here, I have no strength to work and that is why we have come here so the authorities can come to our aid. They should investigate the matter and tell us if this is lawful. I am just a farmer,” the victim pleaded.

It is, however, unclear if he was a target or it was accidental. But according to Rockson, he has resorted to the media because efforts to get the police to act, have proved futile.

While explaining his ordeal to UTV, Rockson, said the small-scale miner, who is often in the news for mostly wrong reasons, is so powerful that in the communities, he is feared by all.

He said his mere presence in their area scares everyone.

“The entire area, everyone is afraid of Okobeng. The moment you hear he’s coming you have to run for your life. If you dare come out, he has his security behind him and they do as they please with their guns or whatever that is at their disposal. He can fire, and school pupils will be running for safety. We have tried all what we can but nothing is working for me,” he laments.

More To Come…





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