The Operation Halt II team has arrested six suspects found operating at an illegal mining site and also engaging in other poor environmental practices at Mile 9 and other communities in the Amansie Central District of the Ashanti Region.
The suspects, six Chinese and a Ghanaian, were found engaging in illegal mining in defiance of the government’s ban on activity, popularly known as galamsey.
They have wreaked havoc on the environment and water bodies, including River Offin.
Since Tuesday, June 6, the Operation Halt II team has mounted a sustained operation.
They have patrolled Apamprama Forest Reserve, Oda Forest Reserve, Bosomtwe Forest Range and other galamsey sites in Ashanti Region.
Districts visited included Amansie Central, Amansie South, Bekwai Municipal and Bosome Freho District.
Those arrested were galamsey operators mining off reserve area of Bosomtwe Range Forest, illegal mining sites and other unauthorized sites.
The team seized 30 excavators with some of them being decommissioned.
Other machines for illegal mining were also burnt by the team during the operation.
Their mission is to fight against illegal mining in forest reserves and river bodies.
Some Changfan machines, water pumping machines fuel storage tanks and other improvised mining equipment and structures were all affected.
The six Chinese arrested were handed over to the Immigration Officers in the Bekwai Municipality whilst the excavators were taken to the Central Command of the Ghana Armed Forces in Kumasi.
The Deputy Commander of the Operation Halt II, Lt.
Louis Boakye, said the exercise was to conduct confirmatory patrols in areas visited.
“We are undertaking confirmatory patrols to check whether we have illegal miners within our forest reserves we visited last time,” he stated.
He expressed worry on how the illegal miners have invaded forest reserves and destroyed economic trees and water bodies.
According to him, the action of illegal miners poses threat to farmers and security.
He appealed to the people to desist from negative practice.
He assured that “we fight to win and never give up”.
The Ring Leader of the Rapid Response Team of the Bekwai Forest District, Ebenezer Appiah, expressed serious concern about the way information is leaked to the galamsey operators when they are embarking on a patrol.
“We are doing our best to protect the forest reserves,” he said.
He said the continuous attacks on Team by the illegal miners pose serious threat to members.