The Daily Graphic yesterday published a story about how the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) busted a syndicate of 13 foreigners allegedly engaged in the manufacture of explosives in Tarkwa, in the Western Region. Over 20,000 pieces of illegal explosives were seized from the suspects, made up of eight Chinese, three Togolese, an Ivorien, and a Nigerian.
According to the story, the explosives, which were seized on the premises of Mohammed Brothers Company Limited and Dakete Mines in Tarkwa, included about 10,000 kilogrammes of ammonium nitrate, and about 20,000 explosive charges in the form of dynamite, which had been prepared from ammonium nitrate.
The GAF, in a statement, said “most of the ammonium nitrate was concealed in flour and rice sacks.”
According to the statement, the operation, led by personnel of the 2nd Infantry Battalion, “was premised on detailed intelligence aimed at clamping down on the manufacture, sale, and use of illegal dynamite in parts of the country, especially mining areas.”
According to Daily Graphic the suspects had been screened and handed over to the National Security Ministry in Accra for further investigations.
The members of the community where the explosives were found were alarmed by the operation carried out by the syndicate, especially, as terrorists are threatening the northern border areas of the country.
First, The Chronicle would like to commend the GAF for embarking on such an operation. For some time now, terrorists have been threatening the northern border areas of the country, and if such activities are not nipped in the bud, unscrupulous persons might take advantage of the situation to move across the border.
The GAF took a bold step to seize over 20,000 pieces of illegal explosives, which will go a long way to prevent terrorists from using the country as launch pads for their illicit activities.
Also, the seizure of the illegal explosives in the heart of Tarkwa, which is not far from a Senior High School, with other social and economic activities going on in the area, we can say pose a threat to lives and properties. This proliferation of illegal explosives is a very serious issue that must not be taken lightly, especially when they are done in densely populated areas which become dangerous to lives and property.
An example is what happened last year in the Apiatse community. The explosion of the 10-tonne dynamites being transported to a mining site at Bogoso killed 13 people and destroyed properties in the community. In fact, the whole community was destroyed and the government had to spend millions of cedis to rehabilitate and build a new community.
The Chronicle is, indeed, happy that the military got a tip off and acted swiftly, meaning the wildly advertised “see something, say something” message by National Security is actually working.
The security services cannot do it all without the support of the civilian populace. If we report situations that appear suspicious it will go a long way to help the security services.
We urge the military to keep the public in the loop on any development on this issue. Also, if the suspects are found guilty, they should be dealt with according to the law. This, we believe, will serve as a deterrent to others who engage in such illegal activities in the country.