The Ghana Armed Forces is investigating the Commanding Officer of the Second Battalion of Infantry in Takoradi,Lieutenant Colonel George Noble Hoenyedzi, for allegedly protecting small scale miners without authorization.
A highly placed source in the Ghana Armed Forces has disclosed he has been recalled to Accra to prevent a possible interferrence with investigation and may be sent back if he is cleared.
Joy News’ Manasseh Azure Awuni visited Marfokrom near Dunkwaw On-Offin in the Upper Denkyira East Municipality of the Central Region and reports that the water bodies have been polluted leaving residents dependent on satchet water for their daily needs. He said he saw some soldiers at a small scale mining concession managed by the Chinese.
An indigene who works for the Chinese told the reporter the soldiers were there to provide protection for the mine against armed attacks.
“This is a mining site and it is gold we are dealing with so we need some security,” he said.
Joy News source at GAF said the soldiers are there to provide protection for some licensed large scale and small scale miners in the community.
The source says some of these operations are sanctioned by the Ghana Armed Forces but said they don't go there to protect the Chinese and other foreigners, who do not have the permit to undertake small scale mining.
He added that if soldiers are found at a Chinese small-scale mining concession, it is possible that Ghanaians may have fronted for this company so all the documents may show that the concession belongs to Ghanaians.
The development comes at a time there is a chorus of opposition against the activities of illegal miners that are polluting the country’s water bodies and destroying the vegetative cover.
The Tano River in the Brong Ahafo Region has dried up for the first time in 40 years, a development residents have blamed on unrestrained activities of illegal miners.
Also, the Brim River in the Eastern Region and River Ankobrah in the Western Region have been muddied making it impossible for the Ghana Water Company to treat the water from these rivers for consumption.
Lands Minister, John Peter Amewu, has suggested excavators seized from the miners have to be burned down to discourage the practice.
Lands Minister, John Peter Amewu
He told Kojo Yankson on Joy FM's Super Morning Show Thursday, the equipment used by the miners are responsible for the destruction caused the environment.
“How do you take cocaine and say you are keeping it?" he asked. "You must destroy it for the public to see that it is a wrong thing. What is happening is not different from an illegal trade.”
The investigation into the alleged protection of the illegal mine by the military personnel has been seen by a section of Ghanaians as a good step in the fight against the practice.
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