SMALL SCALE MINERS CALL FOR PROBE …Into looting of illegal Chinese miners at Amansie West
From Sebastian R. Freiku, Kumasi (pick pics as zip file)
THE AMANSIE West Small Scale Miners Association (AWSSMA) has condemned the October 11, 2012 invasion and burning of Chinese mining sites at Abodom and Mpatasie in the Amansie West district of Ashanti to champion the interest of the members.
A team of National Security personnel, in the company of a contingent of army personnel and a handful of policemen on Thursday stormed the area and attacked illegal Chinese miners by razing their camps to the ground, and set them on fire. Two Chinese nationals were arrested at Akropong and reportedly beaten.
The Military/police team, according to an eye witness, came in a convoy of 14 vehicles, including two patrol vehicles, eight pick ups, three Tata buses and a Pinzgauer.
The Chinese nationals were reported to have been subjected to severe beatings and had their personal belongings seized. Nine pick-up vehicles belonging to the Chinese have also been impounded and kept at military premises at 4BN in Kumasi.
The union has condemned the invasion, which looks more of a looting spree than an exercise to stop illegal mining in the area.
A spokesperson of the union called on the Government to institute a probe into the activities of the soldiers in the area because the looting by the team and locals was not the best.
The union further urged government to come out with its position on foreign nationals in the mining industry in the face of the law.
The membership of the union, which seeks to regulate mining activities in the area and ensure that mined areas are reclaimed to maintain the environment, affirmed its objective of not encouraging illegal mining.
It, however, said that it would be prudent for the government to resort to the provisions of the law and respect the rule of law in dealing with illegal miners, including Chinese and Ghanaians, without resorting to beatings and killings, amid destruction of personal properties.
The union recommended that resident permits of all foreign nationals should be regularized and those whose documents are found wanting be deported or made to face the full rigours of the law as the case might be.
Meanwhile, the association has reiterated its commitment to regulate the influx of Chinese nationals and make sure the communities in which they (Chinese) operate benefit from their operations while ensuring less confrontation by the people with the security agents.
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