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The Eastern regional Monitoring team of the Forestry Commission has arrested twenty -nine foreign nationals who have invaded the Atiwa Forest reserve  to engage in illegal mining.

The suspects, believed to be from Mali and Niger,  have been in the forest reserve for over two months now and  use  sophisticated equipment to detect and mine gold  illegally, causing destruction to the forest.

They were arrested during a special operation by a Joint Military and Police team on Thursday, January 26.

It is estimated that about 5 hectors of the forest have been destroyed by the foreign illegal miners.

The Eastern regional Director of the Forestry Commission, Mr. Attah Owusu told Ultimate News the operation was based on a tip-of by a vigilant community member of Akyem Kwarbeng who provided information about the activities of suspects, leading to their arrest.

He said the suspects were dragged to the Eastern regional Police Headquarters and handed over to the Police.

“We had a tip off from the community that some peculiar people are making incursion to the Atiwa Forest reserve, so we laid surveillance and the Regional Monitoring team made up of the Military, Police and staff of the  forestry commission rounded them up, so we arrested 29 persons believed to be foreign nationals who use sophisticated equipment that detects exactly where the gold is located unlike the excavators,  which makes it easy to find them.

“These individuals are armed to the teeth and if you are not careful you can run into them and they will attack you. We caught them red handed and brought them to the Eastern regional Police Command for the law to deal with them,” he narrated.

He urged residents in the region to help the commission protect natural reserves for a sustainable development.

By: Ghana/ Ansah


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