Residents of the Kwaebiberem Municipality in the Eastern Region have bemoaned the increasing cases of criminal activities following the destruction of farmlands by illegal miners.
The youth are said to be engaged in illegal acts because most of the town’s cocoa farmlands have been sold by family members for illegal mining (galamsey) use.
A visit by Citi News to the area revealed cocoa farms have been left with large pits by illegal small-scale miners.
Residents said unknown persons came from outside the community to prospect and eventually destroy the land with their illegal mining activities.
Some of the pits in the area had been left for up to eight years.
Despite the government’s rhetoric in the fight against illegal mining, illegal miners were still at work in this particular district.
One of the residents who spoke to Citi News noted that the situation has become dire.
“This is the most dangerous aspect. People have their cocoa farms, they sell them and after taking the money, that’s all. Some invest the money in other businesses, but that is not favourable for everyone.”
There were excavators seen clearing trees to allow for the mining of gold.
The illegal mining has also resulted in a river in the district, the River Pram, being diverted and heavily polluted.
The river was the main source of drinking water for many residents in the district.
This is what is leading to a lot of social vices now because if there are no more cocoa farms, people will go into robbery and other unlawful activities which are happening in the community”, the resident added.