The District Chief Executive (DCE) of New Abirem, Raymond Damte, has condemned the Police for using brute force against defenseless land owners demonstrating against Newmont Ghana Ltd, over compensation.
Mr Damte, who was speaking on Peace FM Wednesday in reaction to police shooting of seven land owners at Newmont Akyem project site, wondered how the police could use live bullets against defenseless demonstrators who carried no weapon and weren’t violent.
“In a worse case, they [police] could use tear gas to disperse the demonstrators; why did they decide to use live bullet against demonstrators who carried no weapons and were not violent,” he asked angrily.
He called for investigation into the incident that saw the police shooting seven demonstrators, with one still in critical conditions.
Police men detailed at the project site to monitor the demonstration on Tuesday, opened fire on the protesters, mostly farmers whose land had been given to Newmont for mining, severely wounding seven.
The demonstrators were calling for adequate compensation for their land that was given out to the firm for mining purposes.
They claim they were given compensation for only one year of the total fifteen years that Newmont got the land for.
They had earlier in the year staged a similar demonstration to press home their demands.
General Manager for Newmont’s Akyem Mines, Joep Coenen, said in a statement that they are committed to transparent engagements with local communities to improve lives as well as mitigate the impact operations at the mine will have on the surrounding communities. Mr. Coenen called on the section of community farmers seeking new and additional land and crop compensation, among other issues, to allow the legal process to run its course following earlier mediation efforts.
“As a responsible company, we have consistently met our legal obligations to our stakeholders since we began operations at Akyem and we will continue to do so,” said Mr Coenen.