Stop killing civilians: Miners to Operation Vanguard
The Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners (GNASSM) have called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to call Operation Vanguard to order and to stop them from “killing civilians” and “burning equipment” in their fight against illegal small scale mining (galamsey) in the country.
According to the Association, the Operation Vanguard taskforce have resorted to “unprovoked shoot to kill tactics and the burning of expensive mining equipment belonging to Ghanaians” in their fight against galamsey and the association want the President to stop them from doing so.
GNASSM in a statement alleged that the taskforce have killed two unarmed civilians and set ablaze several excavators without any provocation.
“It is worthy of note that, after the shooting of one Agyemang at Obuasi a few days ago, the “OV” killed another civilian, Charles, at Sefwi-Ankrah in the Western region on Tuesday, 08/08/2017, but are yet to make any public statements on the latter,” the statement said.
Although GNASSM said they support the work of the taskforce, they have impressed on them to work within the confines of the law and employ a human face in dealing with offenders.
“The life of every Ghanaian, no matter their circumstances must be cherished and protected by the state; we find it disheartening that our able soldiers would shoot at unarmed civilians. We hereby humbly call on the Commander-In-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, President Nana Akufo-Addo to call his men to order and ensure they operate within the guidelines set for them,” the association stated.
GNASSM stressed that they are not in any way supporting any galamseyer who defies the taskforce, but is only asking that the law is allowed to take its course when any offender is arrested or any equipment confiscated.
The association further appealed to all well-meaning Ghanaians and Human Rights Advocates to consider “this matter as a human rights abuse by letting their voices heard as we all fight to save our lands and water bodies for posterity” adding that “let the life and property of every Ghanaian count and be protected in our bid to triumph over galamsey by reducing the excesses of the “OV” to the barest minimum.”
The anti-galamsey taskforce is made up of 400 men from the police and the military set up by government to put an end to galamsey across the country.
So far, the Vanguards have arrested over 80 galamseyers at Osinor, Tarkwa and Obuasi just a week into their operations.