The anti-illegal mining task force dubbed Operation Vanguard clashed with some illegal miners in the Ashanti Region, leading to the death of a small-scale miner.
Major Gariba Pabi, the Public Relations Officer of Operation Vanguard, said there was an altercation between small scale miners and personnel from Operation Vanguard forces in the Ashanti Region. The force was confronted by stone-throwing miners at Wawasi, a community in Obuasi area.
Soldiers in the task force fired to disperse the agitated miners. The PRO, Major Pabi explained that they later found that one of the small-scale miners had been shot.
“We didn’t intend to start this operation with blood. No that is not why we are here. We are here to ensure that illegal mining is stopped and our environment is protected,” Major Pabi told a Joy News reporter.
“They were pelting stones maybe to reduce the speed of our people from arresting them” said Major Pabi.
Operation Vanguard is the combined armed team of the Ghana Armed Forces and the Police Service. This task force has the mandate to stamp out illegal mining activities in the country. So far, it has made some arrests at some galamsey hotspots across the country since the operation started.
Major Pabi told the miners to leave the mining areas as they have a mandate to “carry out the President’s special initiative against galamsey”, warning that illegal miners will be arrested.
Meanwhile the small-scale miners have responded defiantly. The National Association of Small Scale Miners have warned that the operation against the small-scale miners “could lead to other vices if the Government fails to resettle them in gainful employment.”