Burkinabe

The suspected illegal gold miners

Seventeen suspected illegal miners (galamsey operators), comprising nine Burkinabe nationals, three Nigeriens and five Ghanaians, have been nabbed at Nkawie in the Ashanti Region and handed over to the police.

Forestry Commission officials at Nkawie, who made the arrests, also confiscated 22 gold detector machines, each valued at GH¢18,000.

The suspects had allegedly been mining for gold in the Offin River Forest Reserve, an illegal action which has destroyed the river in the process.

The 17 persons would be arraigned before court possibly today, to face the law, Nana Poku Bosompem, the Nkawie Forestry Commission boss, said.

According to him, some people had been mining, especially during the night, in the Offin River Forest Reserve, thereby creating environmental hazards.

He said reports in his custody indicated that some foreigners from Burkina Faso, Guinea and Niger as well as some Ghanaians, were the main architects.

Nana Bosompem said these illegal miners use gold detector machines – which are small – so tracking them for possible arrests always became difficult.

He maintained that his outfit started about one year ago to track and arrest the perpetrators who usually dag holes and destroyed the river, but to no avail.

Nana Bosompem said during the weekend his men were able to track the suspected illegal miners and arrested them in possession of the 22 gold detector machines.

He described the arrest as positive for the commission in its resolve to protect the Offin River Forest Reserve.

FROM I.F. Joe Awuah Jnr., Kumasi

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