The Convener of the media coalition against illegal mining, Ken Ashigbey has criticised the withdrawal of the military from the Operation Vanguard taskforce from all illegal mining areas.
There was a directive for all the military personnel to withdraw from Operation Vanguard and that is expected to begin today.
“To deal with these ‘galamseyers’, you need people who can move on the rivers we know the police are not equipped to be able to do that, you need to do fly pads with aircraft, drones and other machines and I am not too sure the police are equipped with that.”
“So this is where, when the President says the Media Coalition should continue the fight against ‘galamsey’, it is important that those who are in charge of this should be able to explain a bit more to the media what exactly the strategy is to be able to deal with this”.
Member of Parliament for Tamale Central, Inusah Fuseini also added his voice to the directive to withdraw the military from this fight.
According to him, the replacement of the soldiers with police officers will not be the solution to the fight to end illegal mining.
He suggested that the Chiefs and people in the areas where ‘galamsey’ is taking place should be involved in the fight because the team cannot be at every place all the time.
Reports suggest that this development came about as a result of the recent backlash from the public against the military, allegations of bribery in the fight against illegal mining, the lack of confidence from the public among others.
This necessitated the Military Command which is the seat of government to pull out and the police takeover because it is their main duty to do these things.
The issue of the missing ‘galamsey’ excavators has not also helped the course of the task force as some are alleging that they have a hand in it.
Operation Vanguard is a Military Police Joint Task Force (JTF) set up by the President of Ghana in 2017 to combat the operation of ‘galamsey’ in Ghana.
‘Galamseyers’ are illegal miners and have over the years depleted Ghana’s forest cover.
Their activities also pollute water bodies due to the crude and unregulated nature of the mining process