The alleged National Security Operatives arrested by residents of Akyem Akanteng in the West Akyem Municipality of the Eastern Region have been moved from the Asamankese District Police Command to the Eastern Regional Police Headquarters.
The youth of Akyem Akanteng on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 invaded the Atewa Forest reserve to arrest about seventeen (17) illegal miners including 14 National Security Operatives who claimed to be working at the Jubilee House.
The National Security Operatives sneaked into the forest at dawn to illegally mine gold.
The youth of Akyem Akanteng massed up and invaded the forest, disarmed the National Security Operatives, and rounded them up before handing them over to the forestry commission and Police who later came to the community.
The five vehicles used by the operatives were also vandalized with some of the tires deflated. The damaged vehicles included a Tundra with registration number NR 9706-20 , Toyota Hilux with registration number GT 9683-14 and Nissan Patrol GR with registration number GW 1966-12.
The Asamankese Divisional Police Commander ACP Kankam Boadu told Starr News the suspects have been moved to the Eastern Regional Police Command to continue with investigations.
“Police had intelligence that some national security personnel have been accosted at the Akanteng chief’s palace. We rushed there and they handed over to us eight men who claim to be National security personnel and three illegal miners. Our interim investigation indicates that the national security personnel came there to mine for gold that is why the town folks arrested. We rearrested them and sent them to the Regional Police Command to continue with their investigation”
He added, “Our information is that the forestry Commission had earlier taken some of the national security personnel to the region but we don’t know their number”.
ACP Kankam Boadu continued that “they were manhandled by the members of the community. They identified themselves as National Security Personnel”.
The Assembly Member for the Akyem Akanteng Henry Owusu Kesse said for the past three weeks illegal miners from Obuasi, Tarkwa and other places armed with guns have turned their attention to the area to illegally mine gold in the forest which the community has been fighting against with support of forest guards.
“For the past three weeks going to one month, we have seen lots of movement to the Atewa Forest. We are told there is a discovery of new gold deposit. About some weeks ago, some national security operatives with arms came there to seize gold deposits amidst gunfire and run away. One Bafuor Asare who says he is chairman of the small-scale miners also came there to deceive us by also taking some of the gold dust away. So we were on alert to protect the forest when on Sunday and Monday night armed men including national security operatives invaded the forest so the youth massed up and arrested them,” he narrated.
A chief in the Akyem Akanteng Nana Kwaku Yeboah called on the Minister for Lands and Natural resources Abu Jinapor to dispatch anti galamsey taskforce to the community to protect the forest.
Residents including a woman peasant farmer in the Akyem Akanteng community said the invasion of the armed illegal miners has created fear among women in the community.
“Women are afraid to go to farm because of these armed men firing warning shots here and there. All that we are telling government is that we dislike illegal mining here. So we will fight any intruder. If government wants to send security men for operation they should use proper channels. Come to see Nananom and MUSEC else we will fight them as well because we have seen that the security personnel who come here are illegal miners. We also urge the President to fish out Barfuor Asare and sack him because he came to do illegal mining too”.