The Forestry Commission (FC) has arrested an alleged illegal mining syndicate led by a chief, and engaged in galamsey activities in the Manse portion of the Anhwiaso East Forest Reserve, near Diaso in the Bibiani Forest District of the Western North Region.
The leader of the syndicate and chief of Manse, Nana Kwame Sobre II, and nine other suspects were arrested on the site by a special Forestry Commission taskforce in the early hours of Wednesday, November 29.
Seven Rapid Response Teams from the Rapid Response Unit of the Forestry Commission, led by the Forest Services Division from the Forestry Commission Headquarters in Accra carried out the swoop on the illegal miners.
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The operation was out to flush out illegal miners who have entered the Reserve with heavy machinery, and had destroyed the forest cover and polluted water bodies through their illegal mining activities.
The illegal activities were alleged to be backed by some top political actors and traditional authorities in the Region.
The Team arrested 10 persons who gave their names as Nana Kwame Sobre II, Chief of Manse, Osman Shaibu, Nana Kwasi, Desmond Nkrumah, Abraham Donkor, Frank Mensah, Richard Kurofie, Patrick Ayambila, Abdul Salam and Rasad Nuoeeikaa.
According to the rest of the suspects, the first suspect and the chief of Manse, Nana Kwame Sobre II, was the one who recruited them into the illegal mining business.
The Team also immobilized two excavators and two heavy-duty power-generating plants found at the illegal mining site.
The arrested persons have been sent to the Dunkwa Police Station from where they will be transferred to the appropriate Police jurisdiction in the Western North Region to be processed for court.
The Coordinator for the Rapid Response Unit, Samuel Darko Akonnor, issued a strong warning to all such perpetrators to desist from the acts.
He insisted that the Forestry Commission is ever prepared to fight them to save the national forest and wildlife resources and protect all the water bodies for posterity.