Operation Vanguard nabs 294 galamseyers, confiscate equipment, vehicles, machinery

Galamsey actitivityOperation Vanguard, the joint military and police task force deployed to fight illegal mining in three regions has so far arrested 294 illegal miners in its first month of operation.

About 68 per cent of the suspects, some of which are on bail, are aged between 18 and 35. They include 28 foreigners.

The special operation team said it has also confiscated 22 excavators, 14 vehicles, 515 floating mining machines (chanfans), 149 water pump machines, dozens of generator sets, among other mining equipments.

Colonel William Agyapong, Commander of Operation Vanguard made these known in Tarkwa on Tuesday when the Defence and Interior Ministers, Dominic Nitiwul and Ambrose Dery respectively, visited the operation camps of the task force in the Western, Ashanti and Eastern regions to abreast themselves with the anti illegal mining operations.

The Operation Vanguard team, divided in three teams is stationed at Tarkwa, Obuasi and Osino.

The contingent, made up of 200 police and 200 military personnel, were deployed on July 31 to the three regions.

Briefing the Ministers, Col. Agyapong said all was well in camp but appealed to the Attorney General to fast track the prosecution of the suspects.

According to Col. Agyapong, a speedy prosecution of suspects will deter others from venturing into the illegality and boost morale of the task force as well.

In his view, any delay in the prosecution of the suspect could hurt the AG’s case since witnesses to assist the prosecutors may not be around because the team will be replaced by a different set of cohorts.

Ninety of the suspects, however, he said were facing trials at the various courts in the three regions adding that the task force was supporting with the necessary evidence for successful prosecutions.

Pointing out their challenges in the discharge of their duties, Col. Agyapong said logistical constraints, including vehicles and communication gadgets was affecting their operation and appealed to the government to give the team the needed tool for effective patrols.

Col. Agyapong, however, graded their one-month old operation as “successful” considering the arrests and the rate at which illegal miners were leaving their concessions and pledged of his team’s resolve to ensure that the illegal mining menace was eradicated.

Mr. Nitiwul after touring some of the concessions hailed the team for what he described as a “good job done.”

The Defence Minister decried the penchant of some people to destroy the environment for their personal and parochial interests and said “environmental degradation is not allowed in any country.”

He pledged to impress on his colleague Attorney General for a speedy trial of the suspects, assuring that government remained committed to the activities of the joint task force and would offer it with the needed support.





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