Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul has disclosed that two Chinese nationals have been arrested in an operation to clamp down on the activities of illegal miners on various water bodies in the country.

According to the Minister, the two are currently in the grips of the National Operation, undergoing further interrogations and awaiting prosecution.

The arrests follow a directive by President Akufo-Addo for all logistics and persons engaged in mining on water bodies to be removed.

In a statement signed by the Information Minister, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, Wednesday, government said 200 officers in the military have been deployed to halt the activities of illegal miners.

The operation, dubbed ‘Operation Halt’ began on the Pra River and will continue to all parts of the country.

“The President ordered the Ghana armed forces to carry out a surgical operation to flush out illegal Miners including foreigners from the country, our river bodies, and forest reserves. The operation was launched on Wednesday, 28th of April to remove all illegal miners and equipment from all our river bodies, especially the major ones, starting with river Pra.

“…by 6 pm when operations were halted, two Chinese nationals were arrested at Atiefu near Twifo Praso in the Central region. They have been handed over to the National Security for further interrogation. They will be prosecuted,” the Defence Minister said.

Touching on other matters, the Minister noted that over 130 pieces of mining equipment have also been seized.

Giving a breakdown, he stated that the number includes “nine excavators, 127 chanfan machines, one fuel pump, one pump action gun, generator, and chainsaw machines.”

The Defence Minister also assured that, unlike in the past, no equipment will be taken into custody. They will all be destroyed once they are seized.

Speaking further, he said the ongoing operation on the Pra River is expected to end Friday, April 30, 2021. That notwithstanding, the military officials will extend their operations to major river bodies in the country, especially those in galamsey prone areas.

He revealed that the army men will take radical action on people who return to places cleared by the officials. He stated that the officials will use helicopters, drones to patrol.