Property running into thousands of Ghana cedis have been destroyed by some irate youth of Obuasi who went on a rampage on Tuesday, May 30 to protest the detention of some illegal miners.
The illegal miners were arrested for entering an underground concession belonging to AngloGold Ashanti, Obuasi Mine.
The rampaging youth destroyed property mostly belonging to AngloGold including vehicles and billboards, to press home their demand for the release of their colleagues who had been arrested after exiting the shaft.
The illegal miners, numbering about 48, who were being held at the Central Police Station were later released.
But the irate youth continued to agitate for those underground to be allowed to go home without arrest.
Over 200 illegal miners on Monday, May 29 were believed to have been trapped in the northern areas of the mine where no active mining has been done for years.
News of the incident sparked widespread protest in the Obuasi township as people converged at the Obuasi East Assembly to implore authorities to intervene.
However, when the relevant authorities including security agencies went to the location, the miners refused to come out for fear of being arrested.
Following the arrest of those who came out, the rest decided to stay underground to avoid arrest, leading to the unfortunate destruction of property belonging to AngloGold.
Meanwhile, AngloGold Ashanti has provided an update on the incident in a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency on Tuesday.
The mining firm said the unauthorised persons purported to have been trapped could exit on foot via the existing ramp through the main access to the area.
“No person underground has been confined in any way and the main exit from the mine remains opened,” the statement clarified.
It said any unauthorised person underground could leave the mine at any time by the exit points where public security remained on standby.
“Intrusion of illegal miners into underground areas remain a significant dangerous activity and AngloGold Ashanti Ghana is working alongside authorities to ensure that only authorised mine personnel and contractors can access underground work areas,” the statement concluded.
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