…Ampofo tells Akyem chiefs
From Isaac Akwetey-Okunor, Koforidua
The Eastern Regional Security Council (REGSEC), under the chairmanship of the Regional Minister, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, has appealed to the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Council not to meddle in national security issues.
According to the Chairman, the war against the illegal miners was not against the traditional rulers therefore, there was no need for them to invite themselves into the crossfire with national security operators.
He was addressing a news conference in Koforidua last Wednesday, in response to last Sunday’s shooting incident at the forecourt of the Okyenhene’s palace.
Throwing light on the incident, the REGSEC Chairman mentioned that a combined team of police and military personnel, under the auspices of REGSEC, based on intelligence received, undertook an operation to flush out illegal miners at the place.
According to him, 14 galamsay operators were arrested, 6 excavators, 15 water pumping machines, a compressor and generator were seized and kept under security guard at the site awaiting action the following day.
It was at this point, he averred, that one Kwame Asiedu, an audacious youth leader in the area, who incidentally is close to the chief’s palace, and suspected to be an illegal miner, called to warn the legitimate owners of the concession on which they were mining illegally, that should his machines be carried away by the security men, he would mobilise the whole of Kyebi to burn the properties of the concessionaires.
Asiedu indeed, went ahead to mobilise the youth, and stormed the positions held by a handful of state security agents.
“The security operators were highly provoked, amidst pelting of stones, insults and gunshots, but they restrained themselves, and withdrew to avoid any open confrontation with possible fatal consequences,” he declared.
He continued that the security men fired warning shots when the mob seized machinery and carried same to the forecourt of the palace, in a process of committing arson.
The Regional Minister, who was shocked about the attitude of the youth, wondered why they would mobilise against responsible security operators, but could not do same over the years against those who had devastated the entire township, including schools and hospitals.
Ampofo appealed to the chiefs who own the lands to put their shoulders to the wheel in supporting security agencies to the fight against illegal mining.
He also warned them to desist from the unauthorised release of lands by some chiefs to illegal miners, and the subsequent protection of these miners for their selfish gains, to the detriment of their subjects.
Mr. Ampofo has also called on Osagyefo Amotia Ofori Panin, the Overlord of ‘Okyenman,’ who is a strong environmental campaigner, not to see the fight to bring the situation under the control, as an attack on the traditional council.