Members of a Vigilante Group

The Director, Faculty of Academic Affairs at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, Professor Emmanuel Kwesi Aning has alluded to a link between vigilantism, national security and illegal mining activities.

He indicated that members of the supposedly disbanded group now find themselves in law enforcement among many other illegal activities.

Speaking in an interview on PM: Express on JoyNews Monday May 17, Prof Aning said, “Vigilante groups are now franchising the skill set that they have into law enforcement, mining, cattle rustling, logging of rosewood and taxing agricultural goods particularly charcoal.

According to him, Ghana is “seeing the beginnings of a hydra-headed monster that we need to elevate to the level of an existential threat to the state”.

His assertion is supported by the Ashanti Regional Security Coordinator’s account of the attack on him by 7 operatives of the national security ministry.

DCOP Opare Addo had stated that 4 out of the 7 men who attacked him in his office with the buttstock of an AK-47 rifle were known members of the allegedly disbanded vigilante group – Delta Force.

There have also been reports that some illegal small-scale miners have hired the services of these vigilante groups to provide security at their concessions.

A JoyNews’ documentary also revealed that some military men offer their services to galamsey operators.

Meanwhile, the second phase of Operation Halt, instituted by government to deal with the galamsey menace, has come to an end.

According to the Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, a total of 28 excavators, 267 changfans with platforms, 18 water pumping machines and a milling machine were destroyed during the exercise.

The operation, which was aimed at clearing galamsey operators and equipment involved in mining on the Pra River and its tributaries, including the Ofin River, has been described by government as successful after covering some 120 kilometres.

The third phase of the operation is expected to be launched in other parts of the country soon.