Minister of Defence, Dominic Nitiwul has revealed that the anti-illegal mining taskforce, ‘Operation Vanguard’, is facing a lot of provocation from illegal miners, making their work extremely difficult.
According to him, some of the illegal miners have adopted a strategy whereby they remove the control board of the excavators they use at the end of their mining activity, making the equipment immovable and difficult to cart away, but the Operation Vanguard team returns to the same mining site the next day only to realize the excavator has been used to work on the mining pit.
The military/police taskforce reportedly invaded Extra Gold Company at Akyem Banso in the Eastern Region last week and set some excavators of the company ablaze, an action that was roundly condemned by a section of the public.
They’re said to have reportedly fired several gunshots at the premises of the company.
The taskforce also invaded the mining sites of other miners working under lease concession of Extra Gold Limited, where two of the miners were arrested while others escaped.
Speaking on Asempa FM yesterday, Dominic Nitiwul, who’s also the Member of Parliament for Bimbila, stated that though the taskforce went beyond its remit by burning of the excavators, the conduct of the illegal miners could anger the team and cause them to destroy the machines.
“This was not part of the terms of reference that was given Operation Vanguard; we have realigned ourselves to make sure that some of these excesses don’t happen again, but I’m just putting out some of the practical difficulties the task force are facing on the grounds.”
He also commended the individual communities near the mining sites for their support in the fight against illegal mining.
“If our fight against illegal mining is successful, it is the attitude of the chiefs and people in some of these towns; the co-operation they’ve given to Operation Vanguard is very positive. It’s just a few misguided individuals who will not obey any order and have decided to mine in the night, but soon the Operation Vanguard will clamp down on them.”