Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners task force has arrested 29 illegal miners operating in the Kwaebibirim Municipality of the Eastern Region.
The illegal miners, popularly known as galamseyers, who were grabbed in a swoop at three separate sites at Akyem Pramkese and Akyem Abodom, had destroyed acres of cocoa and palm plantations.
When the taskforce went to the mining sites, the galamseyers had diverted the course (flow) of the Birim River and were mining in it.
Some of them managed to swim across the river and escaped.
Others, who were grabbed, were initially kept at the Pramkese police station, but later transferred to the Kibi Divisional Police Command, where they will be processed for court.
The Commanding officer in charge of the taskforce, Major Patrick Don-Chebe, expressed frustration with the interference of some politicians and opinion leaders, in the work of the team.
“There are big men involved in illegal mining and when we get them, we will publish their names. There are others too who keep interfering in our work when we make arrests,” he told Accra based citifm radio station.
“It’s been very successful, we have been able to arrest some illegal miners, and we have detained them at the Pramkese police station. We will take them to Kibi for further investigations.”
Some farmers in the area, who commended the efforts of the taskforce, raised concerns about how their farmlands are forcefully being taken away by illegal miners.
Kofi Asaga said “It’s difficult to have potable water here, we are unable to voice our frustrations. They should keep arresting illegal miners.
“They have been destroying our farmlands. They have destroyed my palm oil plantation. We want the government to stop them from engaging in galamsey”.