Government’s anti-illegal mining task force, Operation Vanguard has said they will defend themselves if attacked by illegal small-scale miners.
The teams have so far arrested over 80 illegal miners in Eastern, Western and Ashanti regions since they began their work last week.
Speaking to Citi News, the Public Relations Officer of the task force, Major Gariba Pabi said any attack on them will be considered as effrontery to the fight against illegal mining.
“Before we came, there were talks that they will not stop their activities in the Ashanti Region and they will not allow us to intimidate them. If it is because of that that this thing happened then it is rather unfortunate.
Our aim is not to come here and attack people. We have the right to protect ourselves but we will not go out and be shooting people unless when we come to arrest you, you fire at us then we will also retaliate.”
His comment follows the alleged killing of an illegal miner in Anyimadukrom during a clash between the taskforce and some illegal miners in the area.
The taskforce named, Operation Vanguard was expected to clamp down on the illegal activity in the Ashanti, Eastern and Western Regions and enforce the country’s laws against the illegal practice which has devastated the country’s land and water resources.
While some argued that the move is a major step in the fight against the illegal activity , others expressed the concerns that the involvement of the military in stopping the menace will lead to more challenges.
Anti Galamsey taskforce won’t attack Ghanaians – Amewu
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources however allayed such fears, saying the taskforce will not attack Ghanaians but focus on its role in fighting galamsey.
Even before the taskforce began its work, the Minister for Defence, Dominic Nitiwul had cautioned persons planning on daring the joint team to refrain from doing so.
He said, “it will not be in your interest to do so.”
Dominic Nitiwul said the state was behind the task force hence the team must not be challenged.
“I will make it straight to the people who are daring the task-force not to do that because the country is behind the task force. Don’t dare them. It will not be in your interest to dare them… They will do everything and anything to make this mission a success,” he said.