Some 13 alleged National Security operatives, have been arrested at Konongo in the Ashanti Region. The syndicate is said to have been illegally operating within the Asiwa enclave, extorting money from small-scale miners.
This is the second time that scores of operatives of the National security apparatus, have been arrested over Galamsey.
At least, some 19 persons who claim to be national security operatives were in May 2021 apprehended by the police in the Eastern Region for illegally mining gold in the Atewa forest reserve, but the case died midway. With ruling party activists mostly involved, prosecution doesn’t run its full hog.
After their arrests, the police remained tight-lipped. Later it was disclosed that the suspects had been transferred to the Eastern Regional Police Headquarters at Koforidua for investigations.
At around 12:00pm on Friday, the main Kumasi-Konongo high street was blocked by a police patrol team to halt a speeding Land Cruiser said to be occupied by the supposed National Security operatives.
“We had a tip-off that some people from National Security have been operating in some mining communities in the Bosome Freho District”.
“We quickly informed our commander who also ordered that we hunt them down. “We heard they were driving towards Accra from Bomfa junction, so we quickly mounted a barrier in the main street and arrested them.”
There was a face-off, however, with six of the men dressed in military uniform which attracted civilians. “The soldiers involved initially wanted to resist arrest. They even threatened our commander to strip him off his rank because they are reporting to a high authority.”
A rifle, single bar guns, and some gold stones were retrieved from them. Reports say the Minister of National Security, Albert Kan Dapaah, also came around soon before the men were taken to the 4BN in Kumasi. A joint police and military statement is expected to be issued on Monday, per reports.
Just like this case, the suspects in the Atiwa Forest matter, were also wearing military uniforms, according to the Kade District manager of the forestry Commission.
They had invaded the reserve in Akyem-Akateng onboard a Toyota Land Cruiser V8 with sophisticated rifles on the dawn of Tuesday under the guise of clamping down on illegal miners.
They reportedly clashed with angry residents and forest guards who had vowed to resist illegal miners.
The angry residents reportedly deflated the tires of the five V8 vehicles they used for the operation.
The forestry boss, Kwabena Adu-Bonnah said, they were able to arrest them after the residents outnumbered the armed men.
“Yesterday around 8: 30 pm, an informant from Akanteng informed us about the presence of some people in military outfit entering the galamsey area so we mobilised and around 4 o’clock we went to the community, by then they were coming down so with the help of the community we were able to arrest about nineteen and later eleven,” he stated.
The arrest at the time brought to 65 the number of persons who claim to be members of the state security embarking on illegal mining in the Eastern region, in a spate of 10 days.
“In a matter of 10 days, we’ve been able to arrest 65 people who are either in military or police outfits claiming to be national security officers.
“Last week we arrested some, this week, we arrested four, 19, and 11 on some galamsey sites in the region. They have all been handed over to the police for further action,” Mr Adu-Bonnah explained