At least 19 persons, who claim to be national security operatives, have been apprehended by the police in the Eastern Region for illegally mining gold in the Atewa forest reserve.
The suspects who were wearing military uniforms, according to the Kade District Manager of the Forestry Commission, invaded the reserve in Akyem-Akateng onboard a Toyota Land Cruiser V8 with sophisticated rifles on the dawn of Tuesday under the guise of clamping down on illegal miners.
They reportedly clashed with angry residents and forest guards who had vowed to resist illegal miners.
The angry residents reportedly deflated the tires of the five V8 vehicles they used for the operation.
Confirming the arrests, the forestry boss, Kwabena Adu-Bonnah said, they were able to arrest them after the residents outnumbered the armed men.
“Yesterday around 8: 30 pm, an informant from Akanteng informed us about the presence of some people in military outfit entering the galamsey area so we mobilized and around 4 o’clock we went to the community, by then they were coming down so with the help of the community we were able to arrest about nineteen and later eleven,” he stated.
The arrest of these persons brings to sixty five (65) the number of persons who claim to be members of the state security embarking on illegal mining in the Eastern region, in a spate of ten days.
“In a matter of ten days, we’ve been able to arrest 65 people who are either in military or police outfits claiming to be national security officers. Last week we arrested some, this week, we arrested four, nineteen, and eleven on some galamsey sites in the region. They have all been handed over to the police for further action,” Mr. Adu-Bonnah explained.
Even though, the police has remained tight-lipped, our sources confirm the suspects have since been transferred to the Eastern regional police headquarters at Koforidua for investigations.