Mr. John Owusu, Head of Communications of AngloGold Ashanti, is dead.
Reports indicated that he was ran over by a company vehicle, while attempting to escape the wrath of some illegal miners who had invaded one of the mine sites, Cote Dor, near Anwiam, in Obuasi at the weekend.
Mr. Owusu and some other officials had gone to the site, taken over by the “galamsey” operators (illegal miners). As the miners surged menacingly towards them, the officials started retreating on foot, and they tried reversing the vehicle to their side but unfortunately, the vehicle hit and then ran over Mr. Owusu. He was pronounced dead at the AGA Hospital, where he was rushed to.
One of his assistants at the Communication Department, known only as Sala, confirmed the death on phone, when contacted a few minutes after the incident.
Mr. Owusu worked with The Ghanaian Times until the late eighties when he left for the United Kingdom.
He was, however, prevailed upon by Mr Sam Jonah, then chief Executive of AshantiGold, to come down to head the communications team of the mining company, and had since been working with them till his death at about 1p.m last Saturday.
There had been a battle between AGA and the locals of Obuasi over ‘galamsey’ operations in the company’s mines.
It is recalled that in early 2012, a team of military personnel was sent to Obuasi following consistent appeals by AGA to the authorities to protect the mine from being destroyed by the illegal miners.
After the third year, the locals, most of whom are ‘galamsey’ operators, staged various demonstrations against the mining company which had retrenched about 3,000 workers.
Barely two weeks ago, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Nii Osa Mills, visited Obuasi to have a meeting with the ‘galamsey’ operators.
A few days after the meeting, the soldiers were said to have been ordered to leave Obuasi.
The ‘galamsey’ operators, realising the soldiers had departed, took over the shaft of the mine at Cote Dor/Kaase, leading to clashes between them and the company’s securitymen and the Obuasi Police. That prompted the visit by the officials.