A 21-year-old man, Kofi Kyei, aka KK, who was prospecting for gold at Asiwa in the Bosome-Freho district of the Ashanti Region, died on the spot last Saturday when he slipped into a deep pit.
The incident, which occurred around noon, attracted a large number of sympathisers but, ironically, the members of the gang with whom KK was working showed total indifference to the tragedy that had befallen their colleague.
Moments after KK’s body had been retrieved from the pit and placed a few metres away; the members of the gang went back to their business and made no attempt to inform the police to investigate the circumstances that had led to their colleague’s death.
Many youth have now invaded the Bosome-Freho and Ejisu-Juaben Districts where they have hired excavators and other heavy machinery to undertake surface mining, a situation that is causing massive environmental destruction in the area.
When the Daily Graphic visited the scene where the incident occurred, the body of the deceased had been taken to the Okomfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) mortuary for autopsy, while the illegal miners were still carrying out their businesses unmindful of the tragic incident.
The Station Officer in charge of Atiwa Police, Inspector I.K Nti, confirmed the story saying, “We have already conveyed the body to Kath for autopsy as part of our investigation”.
He, however, declined to give details of the incident and directed this reporter to travel to Bekwai for the details.
The Bosome-Freho District Chief Executive, Mr.Kwame Adarkwa, who first broke the news of the incident at a ceremony at Asamang, expressed over the spate of illegal mining in the distrct.
He pointed out that the assembly had now become desperate in controlling the operations of the illegal miners, in spite of the massive destruction they were causing to the environment.
“They are causing a lot of devastation to the environment because they are not destroying all water bodies in the districts but also destroying our farmlands,” he explained.
He pointed out that apart from mining gold ore from rivers which were the main sources of water supply; the illegal miners also used chemicals to wash the ore in the rivers, thereby polluting the rivers and causing more health hazards.
Explaining why the assembly has not been able to control the menace, Mr. Adarkwa said: “they are not only fully armed, but also have a sizeable number of people who totally outnumber the policemen who operate at Asiwa and its environs.”
For his part, the paramount chief of the Kokofu Traditional Area, Barimah Offe Kwasi Okogyeasuo, said it was members of the various communities in the district who were conniving with the illegal miners to cause massive destruction to the environment.
Expressing concern over the massive destruction of the environment, Barimah Okogyeasuo said it was time the people realised that in their attempt to secure their selfish interests, they were creating many problems for the future generations.