Illegal miners (galamsayers) have invaded the Desiri Forest Reserve (DFR) at Dumesua near Tepa in the Ashanti region.
They have also threatened to kill officers of the Forest Services Division of the Forestry Commission for attempting to evict them from the reserve.
The Forestry Commission has not granted entry permit to prospecting, community mining and galamsey operators where they were operating day and night in the forest reserve.
The Mankranso District Manager of the Forest Services Division (FSD), Godwin Agyeman, who disclosed this on Wednesday said the galamseyers were fully armed with guns, cutlasses, catapults and other harmful materials saying that they had outnumbered officers on the ground.
Speaking to journalists in an interview about the state of the Desiri Forest Reserve indicated that trees and other forest products have been completely destroyed with excavators, while water bodies in the reserve have also been polluted with poisonous chemicals and mud.
“They have erected many structures, giant machines (including excavators and changfans), and dug several pits. They have also erected their own sign post at the forest entry point,” he bemoaned.
The District Manager added that whenever officers of the FSD visited the forest, many fully armed machomen would appear from their hideouts in the forest to surround and threaten them.
Mr Agyeman was optimistic that the intervention of the MLNR, galamstop team, Officers of the National Security and other security apparatuses, would get their equipment and structures burnt, and culprits prosecuted.
He expressed worry about how huge investment made by government and other Non – Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to preserve the forest reserve for posterity, has been completely destroyed by these nation-wreckers.
The District Manager appealed to the various media outlets in the area to educate the general public on the numerous negative effects of galamsey on the environment, human and animal lives.
Mr Agyeman indicated that God created forests and water bodies for the goodness of mankind and animal lives saying that we have to protect and maintain them for our own wellbeing.
FROM EMMANUEL ADU GYAMFI, TEPA NUMESUA