Five Chinese men alongside four Ghanaians have been arrested by the Ghana Police in the Western region for illegal mining. The men were reportedly mining for gold on the Ankobra River which is situated at Bamianko Dawule in the Nzema East Municipality. The area which is a major source of fish for neighbouring communities has long been a victim of illegal mining.
Members of the Bamianko Dawule community alerted authorities after observing suspicious activities on the River Ankobra. This culminated in the formation of a combined security team from the Rapid Deployment force as overseen by the regional police commander, DCOP Kwesi Duku, as well as the regional Crime Investigation Department (CID) which successfully brought the criminals into custody.
The Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) in the Nzema East Municipality who treats water from the river and supplies to distant towns, and residents of the area who depend on its fishes for food and trade, have repeatedly complained about the gross pollution of the water body as well as other nearby rivers blaming it on the activities of the Chinese men. Residents noted that despite a few arrests made in the past, the Chinese remain adamant and keep returning with more equipment.
Also, numerous hydro-electric schemes have been proposed for the upper reaches of the river Ankobra.
One of the residents said; “Our water bodies are being destroyed by these galamsey (illegal mining) operators. We have observed that it is the Chinese who have brought machines and are in the Ankobra and Pra rivers excavating and processing the alluvial gold in the rivers…….While some Chinese nationals are engaged in the illegal mining activities, others are involved in renting out of equipment for the illegal act. Something should be done to halt their activities.”
The Western Region’s Ghana Police Public Relations Officer (PRO) in the person of ASP Olivia Awurabena Adiku spoke to Citi News about the incidence stating that;
“the suspects were immediately put before the Sekondi District Magistrate Court, but have been remanded into police custody to reappear on 27th March 2017”.
He also noted that; “Investigations have started into the incident. We are liaising with the Ghana Immigration Service to know the status of the Chinese nationals involved and when that is determined, we will take it from there.”
Part of the information gathered from the investigation is that the Chinese miners sell the gold to another Chinese named Wang Weng. They claimed that their latest sale was made at Wassa Akropong on Thursday, 23rd March 2017 but that the proceeds of the sale had been transferred back to China.
ASP Adiku went on to assure that the regional police “is determined to flush out illegal miners on all rivers in the region to ensure that the rivers are back to their former state.”
The identities of the Chinese men were revealed to be; Dong Cheng 30, Ning Guorui 42, Li Zilong 44, Yin Biquiang 46, and Hung Jian 51. Their Ghanaian cohorts include; Kofi Darko 21, Eric Owusu 28, Kwesi Owusu 28, Nana Adu 42 and Kwabena Adjei 50.