Akufo-Addo deploys 200 soldiers to fight galamsey
A contingent of 200 troops has been deployed to clamp down on illegal mining activities destroying the country’s water bodies.
President Akufo-Addo directed the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) to deploy the soldiers in a renewed effort against illegal mining.
A statement from the Information Ministry, which made the announcement, said the team commenced the operation on Wednesday, April 28, 2021, on the River Pra in the Central and Western Regions.
It added that the move was to ensure that mining within water bodies is immediately stopped.
This latest action to fight the menace, popularly known as galamsey, comes after the Stakeholder Dialogue on Small Scale Mining on April 14.
The Ministry of Defence and the GAF are expected to provide a detailed brief of developments and sustainability efforts on Friday, 30th April 2021.
Despite an initial war waged against the galamsey menace, the illegal practice continues to threaten the environment, polluting water bodies and depleting the country’s forest reserves.
In recent times, Ghana’s cocoa sector is facing a crisis in the hands of illegal miners.
The illegal miners have now turned their machines and equipment into cocoa farms cutting down every tree which stands in their way.
The activities of these galamseyers have caused a huge uproar among environmentalists, CSOs, the government, and the public.
To boost confidence in his government, President Akufo-Addo last week reiterated the commitment of his government to deal with the galamsey phenomenon in the country, emphasizing that his administration’s efforts will be deliberate during its second in office.
The president gave the assurance when he received Okyehene, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin, and other Akyem Abuakwa chiefs at the Jubilee House when they paid a courtesy call on him.
“We are all witnesses to what has become of our major water bodies such as brim, Pra, Ankobra. All these strategic water bodies have been polluted as a result of Galamsey.
“It is my considered opinion that we need a deliberate effort and plans to eliminate the Galamsey menace in our country,” the president said.
Similar military deployment
Shortly after the first Akufo-Addo administration commenced in 2017, a joint military and police task force known as Operation Vanguard was unleashed to combat illegal mining.
However, the desired results were not achieved despite some successes achieved from the joint team.
After nearly three years of working together, the military component of the task force was dissolved by the government in March 2020.
It was believed that the withdrawal of the military from the joint task force was to allow restrategizing by the government in the fight against illegal mining.
The task was left in the hands of the police.
Despite their operations, there are still activities of illegal miners dotted across the country.