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Amenfi East NPP PC Tells Illegal Miners to Defend Themselves against Military Attack

In a meeting with miners, the parliamentary candidate said the government has dissolved all anti-galamsey task forces, ending their mandate to enforce mining regulations.

The New Patriotic Party’s parliamentary candidate for Amenfi East, Ernest Frimpong, has advised illegal miners in the area to defend themselves against any military attack to halt their operations.

In a meeting with miners, he said that the government has dissolved all anti-galamsey task forces, effectively ending their mandate to enforce mining regulations.

“Operation halt, galamstop, whatever, whatever, soldiers that ambush you, we have canceled all those operations and officially they do not have permission to run such operations again. So, if anyone comes to your site, you have the right to question him on his mission there. But if anyone comes around and says because he is a soldier, leave the site and dismantle your machines, don’t be moved by the uniform he is wearing, if he beats you, equally beat him. Fight him, I will come to your defense,” Mr. Frimpong said.

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He further encouraged voluntary support for fuel costs for security personnel, as their patrols help prevent robbery and protect the community.

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“If he says he is on patrol, then that is good because the patrol by the police and the security services protects you and reduces the incidents of robbery. So if from your own will you part ways with 3 million, 5 million or 10 million for him to use for fuel, you are just helping him and I won’t speak against it,” he said.

He further argued that in the absence of a formal anti-galamsey operation, efforts by soldiers to enforce mining regulations are unlawful and could not be used to prevent illegal mining.

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“As I said, the authority with which he could use to arrest you has been seized, hence if you are doing illegal [mining] and he wants to arrest you, he is also engaging in an illegality, so you should also arrest him,” he said.

The Western Regional Minister, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah and some party executives in the region were in attendance at the meeting.

Galamsey continues to be a great threat to forest and water resources in Ghana. Even though the practice is not new in Ghana, the use of heavy machines such as excavators and bulldozers, and chanfans are a recent phenomenon destroying forests, farmlands and water bodies.

A 2021 policy brief by Women in International Security indicates that the government has been unsuccessful due to a variety of reasons, ‘key among them being the corruption of government officials and heavy-handed crackdowns by the security forces’. The brief further suggests that Ghana’s weak judicial system and complicit local populations that directly benefit from illegal mining are part of many reasons galamsey continues to be an issue.

A factor in the government’s failure is that the formalization of blueprints fails to adapt to the conditions of the majority of local miners since the blueprints make it very difficult or too costly for small-scale miners to comply.

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