Lands Minister disbands ‘unauthorized’ anti-galamsey taskforces

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The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources has issued a strong warning to unauthorized persons and groups parading themselves as security officials deployed to help the government’s anti-galamsey efforts.

He said they have been disbanded and must cease operation with immediate effect.

In a statement addressing the issue, the minister said the government’s ongoing security operation to fight illegal small-scale mining dubbed “Operation Halt” is being conducted under the instruction of President Akufo-Addo and being overseen by the Ministry of National Security, noting that other groups claiming to be part of the operation must desist from making such claims.

[I will sacrifice my parliamentary seat to tackle galamsey – NPP MP]

“It has come to the attention of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources that certain unauthorized “Task Forces” and/or security operatives have taken advantage of the ongoing Operation Halt to harass small scale miners across the country… The operations of all such unauthorized Task Forces and/or parallel Security Outfits should cease and be disbanded with immediate effect,” the statement said.

Earlier this week some 19 persons who claimed to be national security operatives were apprehended by the police in the Eastern Region for illegally mining gold in the Atewa forest reserve.

The suspects, some of whom were in military and police uniforms according to the Kade District manager of the forestry Commission, invaded the reserve in Akyem-Akateng onboard a Toyota Land Cruiser V8 with sophisticated rifles on the dawn of Tuesday under the guise of clamping down on illegal miners.

[Galamsey: Soldiers burnt my four of my excavators – Licensed miner cries out]

This development some analysts say must be checked to avoid setting back the government’s fight against illegal mining.

Abu Jinapor said he has an “unwavering commitment to realize the national policy on small scale mining, which is to preserve our water bodies, forest reserves, and sanitize the sector.”

Read the full statement here:

MINISTRY OF LANDS AND NATURAL RESOURCES

PRESS RELEASE

UNAUTHORIZED “TASK FORCES”, PARALLEL “SECURITY OUTFITS” TO CEASE THEIR OPERATIONS

I refer to the ongoing security operation, dubbed “Operation Halt”, mounted by the Ghana Armed Forces to preserve the “Red Zones”, i.e our Waterbodies and Forest Reserves. The operation is being conducted under the express instruction of the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and is being overseen by the Ministry of National Security.

It has come to the attention of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources that certain unauthorized “Task Forces” and/or security operatives have taken advantage of the ongoing Operation Halt to harass small scale miners across the country.

For the avoidance of doubt, Government is not against lawful, regulated and sustainable small-scale mining. ‘Operation Halt’ relates exclusively to the purging of our waterbodies and forest reserves of illegal small-scale mining. There continue to be measures to deal with other forms of illegalities in the mining sector such as enhanced regulation, reformation of permitting regime, community mining and other enforcement mechanisms which the Ministry is pursuing.

The operations of all such unauthorized Task Forces and/or parallel Security Outfits should cease and be disbanded with immediate effect.

The Ministry reiterates its unwavering commitment to realize the national policy on small scale mining, which is to preserve our waterbodies, forest reserves, and sanitize the sector.

END

SIGNED
SAMUEL A. JINAPOR, MP.
MINISTER FOR LANDS AND NATURAL RESOURCES