Looming Tension In Prestea

The Small Scale Miners Association of Ghana, Prestea branch has called on the leadership of the Ghana Police Service and the Ghana Military to put an end to the Military and Police brutalities on small scale miners in the area.

The group added that all its members have the required license to operate, and also follow all environmental precautions and demands in their operations.

Addressing the Press to register their protest, Mr. Nuhu Mustapha, the District Secretary to the group, (who is himself is also allegedly a victim) indicated that the military and the police are being used by an individual who is a guru in illegal mining and using the security agencies as a cover to perpetuate and extend his activities.

Narrating his ordeal, he said one Okobene, who is also a miner has contracted the security agencies to harass himself and his members.

He indicated that, the security agents ransack innocent people, make away with their valuables and seized their machines and items on sight. He said the combined the combined operation results in beating and manhandling of people, especially women, burning of monies belonging to victims, and other inhumane treatments.

According to a search report and license documents dated 21st December, 2015 and shown to the New Independent Newspaper, the specific area in reference (a mining site at Prestea) belongs to Mr. Nuhu Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the association.

According to him, the mastermind of these raids, Okobene rather do not have documents covering the concession he is claiming, but rather using someone’s license to operate.

Citing a specific case of reference, Mr. Nuhu indicated that on the 17th December, 2015, a combined operation by the Police and the Military contracted by the said Okobene resulted in brutalities against small scale miners in the area, resulting in their arrests and man-handling.

Mr. Ofosu, who was a victim on that fateful day, narrated his ordeal, mentioning that he was arrested and handcuffed whilst he was driving, resulting in the Police seizing one of his vehicles and several items.

The group therefore appealed to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) to as a matter of urgency bring the security agents, who have turned themselves into tools being used by an individual to perpetuate his selfish gains to order, and institute investigation into these.

He said the currency of Ghana is to be safeguarded by every citizen, so if any security personnel should burn the money, it constitutes a criminal offence. They should therefore be brought to book.

Displaying his returns correspondence and statutory obligations of members of the group, he said small scale miners are faithful to the constitutional requirement associated with their business, and added that they will continue to support their communities and make positive impact towards their development.

When contacted for his side of the story, Okobene debunked allegations, claiming ownership to the concession. He also showed license documents which purportedly makes him owner of that large scale concession.

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