Nine Galamsey Operators Arrested

The Atiwa district branch of the Forestry Commission in the Eastern Region with the assistance of the Rapid Response Team from Accra has arrested nine illegal miners popularly known as ‘galamsey’ operators who have been operating within the Atiwa forest area.

The Atiwa forest reserve is one of the largest and most enriched forests in the country, but is being depleted lately by both illegal miners and chainsaw operators.

Speaking to the DAILY HERITAGE after the arrest, the officer-in-charge of the Atiwa district branch of the Commission, Palmer Aikins Amponsah, said the activities of illegal miners and chainsaw operators had been the biggest problem confronting his outfit since he assumed office.

He said, since the illegal operators were rowdy and sometimes armed, he informed his bosses in Accra who brought down the Rapid Response Team from Accra to assist to check the menace. Mr. Amponsah said the team early yesterday morning went to the forest and laid ambush.

The team saw the suspects who had destroyed a large portion of the forest busily digging with their various machines and arrested them and sent them to the Anyinam police station.

He gave the names of the suspects as Vincent Koffie, 32, Ativor Atsu, 23, Amanue Yaw, 30 and Ayanu Fofo, 31 years. Others are Samuel Dankwa, 30, Kwame Goli, 35, Kwabena Banda, 46, Kwasi Dor, 28 and Wossah Koffie, 28.

Mr. Amponsah used the occasion to warn all and sundry to stay off the forest since his outfit will not spare anybody who would be caught depleting the forest.

At the time of filing this report, the police were processing their various documents to enable them send the suspects to court.

At the moment, a number of people are before the courts for similar offences.