The four-day operation by the Military taskforce put together to fight illegal mining resulted in a trail of destruction of machinery used for illegal mining, Defense Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, has announced.
At a press conference on Wednesday, he said a total of 228 Chanfang gold crushers, 49 excavators and 87 Water pumping machines have been destroyed in the few days of the ‘Operation Halt’ incursion in the Eastern Region.
According to Nitiwul who is also the MP for Bimbila, the operation was targeted at clearing illegal miners and their equipment on the Birim, Offin and Oda Rivers of the Eastern and Ashanti Regions and that the operation was largely successful.
“It is very difficult to stray far away from the rivers due to the safety of the soldiers and the fact that it is very far. So if you were not very close to the river it will be difficult for your equipment to be seized,” Nitiwul said.
A total of 561 military personnel were deployed for the operation which covered 100 meters of the river he added.
It would be recalled that one of the most prominent casualties was the National Women’s Organizer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Kate Gyamfua, who had eight of her excavators, some said to be worth US$120,000 each, burnt by the task force.
The National Communications Officer of the NDC, Sammy Gyamfi, has however been revealing that Madam Gyamfuah was targeted because she criticized the government’s selective development of roads in the President’s hometown, Kyebi.
Nitiwul promised Operation Halt is not going to be a one-off incursion and that it will be repeated.
Also, he said the operation has been having the desired impact.
“The operations will continue, there will be a fourth phase, fifth phase, and sixth phase. We are not stopping.
“Three days ago the armed forces decided to count the number of machines that were leaving the Birim area, what we call the Atiwa forest, and just in a day, they counted 700 and that is the impact that this operation is making.”