Despite the withdrawal of all military personnel from mining sites across the country, Luv News has evidence of over 30 fully armed military men protecting miners degrading the forest of Manso in the Ashanti region.
During the team’s journey to this part of Manso and its forests scenes of destruction and degradation were visible from miles away. Abandoned pits and mining settlements dotted the road leading into the what is left of the once lush forest.
After navigating through the dangerous terrain of open filled pits filled with water, government’s Environmental Sustainably taskforce together with Luv FM’s Erastus Asare Donkor arrived at the mining settlement deep within the forest enclave.
Seven Chinese nationals were quickly located and arrested.
While conducting the search, a young military officer drove into the compound in a pick-up truck.
He started making some calls to his superiors. Within 30 minutes, the entire place was crawling with over thirty angry armed military men.
For hours, members of the taskforce were surrounded and prevented from moving their vehicles by armed soldiers and a backup of known faces from the Delta Force group led by the owner of Heritage Imperial company, Donald Entsuah.
The leader of the team conducted a search room by room, which proved the presence of the military at the site.
There was a near clash between the Ministry of Environment’s sustainability task force and the military who are allegedly acting as security for the miners.
Anger turned into a verbal altercation and near fisticuffs. A group of unidentified well-built men suspected to be from the Delta force group also joined them.
The Chinese were subsequently released. The news team was prevented from filming anything from this time onwards as they overpowered the taskforce and took over.
Things became physical as the macho men assaulted Luv Fm’s Erastus Asare Donkor driver; forcibly taking the keys to the vehicle and struggling with the camera technician for the camera.
Some members of the Delta Force damaged the equipment of Luv FM’s journalists who were covering the taskforce.
Under the watch of the military men they broke our windscreen and side mirrors. Owner of the site, Donald Entsuah ordered the military to delete all footage from our camera and our personal phones.
But Erastus Asare Donkor and the team managed to retrieve the recorded footage from the formatted card. It took the intervention of the Ministry of Environment and some officers at the Ghana Armed Forces command to release them.
Donald claimed he had all the documents giving him full access to mine in the forest, but the Minister for Environment clarified the license he had.
“Heritage Imperial only has a prospecting license and so it is mining illegally in the forests. He is supposed to be drilling testing samples to be presented in the process of getting a mining permit.”
But in all, the best judge is the environment which remains with huge gullies and pits.