A military man has been apprehended for posing as a member of the Operation Vanguard team fighting illegal mining across the country.

Private Bawa Kobore, of 5 Infantry Battalion was arrested together with two civilian accomplices; Emmanuel Opoku from the Achimota Forestry Commission and Seth Tiboah, a lorry station porter from Sekyere.

The three men were reported to be harassing and extorting money from civilians at Sekyere Atiwa West District of the Eastern region.

They were also said to be making false promises to protect them from arrest from their illegal mining activities, the Daily Graphic reports.

The arrest was carried out by the Eastern Forward Operation Base (FOB) of the National Anti-Galamsey Task Force.

The Soldier, said to be on Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) duties at the Southern Command, Accra, was caught on Thursday, 21 November 2019, with an M16 assault rifle and fifteen rounds of 5.56 x 45mm NATO (bullets).

Reports suggest three other suspects, including Private Baah Fredrick of 153 Armoured Regiment, a Military Police (MP) personnel, and a National Security personnel, both yet to be identified, took to their heels before the patrol team got to the scene.

The apprehended suspects are presently under investigation and would be put before court if found culpable, the FOB team noted.

In November 2018, three officers of the Operation Vanguard taskforce were arrested for their alleged involvement in a bribery and extortion racket.

They were arrested at Gold Finger Spot in Obuasi in the Ashanti Region where the officers laid ambush following a tip-off.

According to the PRO, Lance Corporal Samuel Arhinful, who worked with Vanguard Four Operation, recruited his friend and colleague, Sgt. Collins Baffour Gyawu (a member of Vanguard Eight) to join him and Sgt. Mathew Ansu for the alleged extortion racket.

The suspects had demanded monies or received payments from some miners on a weekly or monthly basis, which protected their victims from being arrested for illegal mining activities.