Five Okyeman environmental task force members have been charged with robbery and possession of firearms and ammunition without lawful authority by a circuit in Koforidua.

The two charges, among several others, were levelled against the suspects when they were arraigned before the court on Friday.

Among the other charges include conspiracy to commit a crime to wit robbery, unlawful harm and conspiracy to commit a crime to wit kidnapping.

5 Okyeman environmental task force members charged with robbery and unlawful possession of firearms

The suspects include Nana Sarpong Baffuor Awuah, 59; Nana Barima Twum, 59; Jonathan Martey, 39; Eric Yaw Obeng, 49; and Victor Ahenkora Koranteng, 37.

When they appeared before the court presided over by Mercy Addai Kotei, the suspects pleaded not guilty to all the charges slapped on them by State Attorney Cyril Keteku.

The judge after listening to the charges and pleas admitted them to a bail of ¢200,000 each with two sureties.

Two persons were allegedly shot by several members of the community mining protection unit at Adeiso in the Upper West Akyim District of the Eastern Region.

5 Okyeman environmental task force members charged with robbery and unlawful possession of firearms

The community protection unit is a task force set up by the Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, intending to clamp down on illegal mining and logging.

They were said to have stormed several land winning concessions and unleashed brutalities on some workers who had questioned and resisted their operations.

The team have been accused of stealing a cash of amount of ¢96,000 after they attacked the sand wining firm.

Samuel Atsu Forson, one of the persons whose concession was attacked, explained that the suspects intimidated and extorted money from the workers.

According to him, they shot the thigh and legs of two of his workers on duty who had questioned why they retrieved the over Ghc96k from his accountant.

5 Okyeman environmental task force members charged with robbery and unlawful possession of firearms

The victims are 25-year-old Razak Hassan and Bright Apaw, 30.

Atsu Forson explained that they alerted the firm’s drivers, who blocked the main Adeiso road with their tipper trucks to aid the police and some residents in arresting the suspects.

Three out of the suspects were, however, apprehended by the Adeiso District Police Command.

According to Mr Forson, the police retrieved AK-47 assault rifles, ammunition, a pistol, police and military uniforms and other accoutrements when they searched their vehicles.