The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) has arrested three persons dressed in US military-pattern camouflage uniforms at Elvis and Co Mining Ltd, a small scale gold mining firm in the Aprampramah Forest and Kobro Forest Reserve in Amansie Central of the Ashanti Region.
The suspects whose names are being withheld were said to be working for a private security company providing guard services to the mining firm.
They were picked up by a military patrol team following allegation that some military personnel were providing security for mining firms operating in forest reserves.
The GAF in a statement issued by the Public Relations Directorate in Accra yesterday said as a key stakeholder in the fight against the menace, the GAF had revamped Operation Halt II, in order to intensify its operations to curb the destruction of the forest reserves and pollution of the river bodies.
“These private security guards should not be misconstrued as GAF personnel because their camouflage pattern uniforms are even totally distinct from GAF,” the statement added.
Consequently, the GAF urged the media and other stakeholders verify claims of military personnel protecting illegal mining activities to ensure accuracy in information.
It added that the GAF was opened to providing the necessary clarifications to be made to ensure a balanced reportage at all times stressing that “there are no military personnel deployed for such activities and no soldier is providing security for any mining company in any forest reserve in any part of the country.”
“The recent reports of the numerous arrests made, excavators seized and immoblised, and other equipment destroyed, attests to this renewed and sustained effort,” it added.
It noted that following reports of the presence of some security persons in uniform within the Aprampramah Forest and Kobro Forest Reserve stretch in Amansie Central, a patrol team from 4 Infantry Battalion and the Central Command Headquarters in Kumasi, conducted an operation in the general area on September 28.
It recalled that a few months back personnel of the 4 Infantry Battalion rounded up some members of a District Assembly Taskforce wearing different shades of military camouflage uniforms, captured in a viral video manhandling some civilians in the Kwabre South District.
“Considering that they were dressed in military pattern camouflage uniforms, they were wrongly perceived to be GAF personnel thereby drawing GAF into disrepute.
Aside this, GAF has also picked up several impersonators in recent times and handed them over to the Police for prosecution,” the statement added.
It said GAF was counting on all Ghanaians especially the media and stakeholders, in curbing the illegal mining in forest reserves and water bodies and also in the clamp down on the use of military pattern uniforms by private security guards and other unauthorised persons.
BY TIMES REPORTER