Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Illegal Mining in Bole District Breed Armed Robbers, Prostitutes

The failure by President John Dramani Mahama to halt the rampant and uncontrolled illegal mining activities popularly known as “galamsey” in his home town of Bole in the Northern Region of Ghana, is said to be threatening the lives of the indigenes as armed robbery, prostitution and other criminal activities have become the order of the day.

The armed robbers are said to be terrorizing traders and people engaged in mining activities in several communities. The Security operatives especially police in the Bole District according to Savannahnews sources are undergoing difficult moments in battling with the robbers, due to the bad nature of roads in the area. 

The District Police Commander of Bole, ASP Eric Awiadem confirmed to Savannahnews that the district for the past few years had been recording pockets of armed robbery incidence especially in the illegal mining communities with some of them resulting in loss of human lives. 

On Wednesday December 17th 2014, the Bole District Police he said arrested six (6) armed robbers at Seripe on the Bole-Bamboi road after they had allegedly robbed some miners. 

He recounted that the Police retrieved a gun, two daggers, two military uniforms, gold detectors and other mining tools from the robbers. 

According to ASP Awiadem, the robbers were ambushed by the police patrol team after a tip off from some community members. The Police were able to impound one of the two vehicles the robbers were using. 

The Bole District Police Commander told Savannahnews that during interrogations, the robbers insisted that they were rather illegal miners and that was why they were found with the mining tools. But some of the several community members who thronged the District Police Headquarters to catch glimpse of them, were able to identify them as known armed robbers. 

They allegedly robbed some teachers at Mandale and made away with their mobile phones, money, laptop computers and tablets on Monday 15th December 2014.  

ASP Awiadem said that the Police investigations were still ongoing and promised to deal with other armed robbers operating in the district. He asserted that the robbers were terrorizing market women and illegal miners in the area. And the Police patrol team always found it difficult to monitor their activities due to the poor nature of roads and bad communication network system in the district. 

The issue of illegal mining in the area our sources hinted was becoming rampant and bringing some calamitous consequences on the youth of the district as some of the young ladies were now dropping out of school and getting involved in prostitution. The activity is also causing serious land degradation in the Bole District especially in communities such as Tinga, Kui, Banda Nkwanta, Ntereso, Wasepe, Dakurupe and Lasiaso among others.

Most of mining sites according to our sources were handed over to ECOWAS nationals from Cote D’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Guinea by high profile traditional authorities for mutual benefits, which therefore made it difficult for the security to deal with the matter. 

Earlier, some 45 illegal miners were arrested in Bole by the Northern Regional Command of the Ghana Immigration Service. The miners included 17 Guineans, 23 Burkinabes and two Malians. 

In July 2014, about 20 illegal miners were trapped and feared dead at Banda Nkwanta, close to the Bui National Park after the pit in which they were mining caved in.

In September 2014 about 24 Guineans were arrested in the same Bole District for engaging in illegal mining activities.
Some of the mining activities Savannahnews gathered were ongoing even in the few forest reserves including the Bole Gave and the Bui Game Reserves where illegal timber operation was also being recorded.

Bole is the hometown of current President of Ghana John Dramani Mahama, who recently branded Kyebi in the Eastern Region as the headquarters of ‘galamsey’ – illegal mining. Meanwhile, he has lost the political will to deal with the “galamsey” operation in his own backyard.

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