The Minister for Defence, Dominic Nitwul, has cautioned miners who undertake their activities at night to put a stop to it.
The Minister giving an update on the third phase of the ‘Operation Halt’ warned that the deployed armed men will apprehend such people if found.
Mr. Nitwul said the military has been equipped to deal with miners who refuse to cooperate. He added that miners who work at night do so at their own risk.
“We know that they do that from around 9:00pm to 4:00am. That’s how brave they are. We know, and we know the towns they are doing it in. So, we will come after you, Don’t try it.
“If you go out there to mine, I cannot guarantee your safety when the soldiers…apprehend you. So, I will advise you to not go out. It is not worth it.”Dominic Nitwul
Accounting for the number of equipment seized, he indicated that this operation had a higher number compared to the first and second phases. He revealed that a total of 448 equipment was seized and destroyed.
“I wish to announce that 40 excavators were burnt, 228 Chanfan machines, 87 water pumping machines, 76 wooden structure, 1 container, 7 generator sets, 6 plants and 3 motorbikes were all destroyed.”Dominic Nitwul
The Defence Minister further indicated that per the officers observations, the Chanfan machines in the Central and Ashanti regions were more than in the Western and Eastern Regions.
He also disclosed that illegal miners in these areas have killed off the tributaries of the river bodies. This, he says, is because they have diverted the river course and are rather mining within the river bodies.
GAF not pleased with destroying equipment
Mr. Nitwul reiterated that, members of the Ghana Armed Forces and government officials do not take pleasure in seeing equipment being destroyed.
The Minister also lamented that residents who live closer to these water bodies have to buy water due to polluted nature of the water. He then urged for steps to be taken in solving this issue.
“If the government and especially the people do not take proactive steps for themselves, the entire southern belts will lose all its rivers in the next three years.”Dominic Nitwul
Also, the Defence Minister clarified that members of the Ghana Armed Forces involved in the fight are picked from different units and are not from any political party as being insinuated.
“And they do not get involved in politics. This is the decision taken by the government and they were asked to implement that decision.”Dominic Nitwul
He also disclosed that the third phase of the ‘Operation Halt’ saw 500 personnel being deployed to the various mining sites. Breaking it down, he said the army contributed 60% personnel of all ranks,;and the Ghana Airforce contributing 40% all of ranks.
He then urged the media to carry out more reportage on the activities to help in the fight;and encouraged citizens also to be vigilante and report any illegal activity they see going on.