The general Officer Commanding (GOC), Central Command of the Ghana Army – Brigadier General JA Aphour has debunked the allegation that his command was providing protection to illegal miners.
He said media reports on the Military’s involvement in the illegal act were a misrepresentation of facts.
Narrating why the military appeared at the mining site, Gen Aphour said the Amansie South District, richly endowed with mineral resources has seen a lot of mining activities by registered and illegal miners.
“Crime was therefore high in the District with foreign nationals, mainly from Niger, Guinea and Burkina Faso, involved,” he said.
He continued that in June 2019, the Amansie District Assembly, requested for the deployment of joint military/police teams to check the activities of a militia group formed by locals and foreigners.
His command was therefore tasked to jointly conduct Operation CALM LIFE with the police, an operation that is ongoing at Tontokrom and its environs.
“Some weeks ago, we gathered intelligence that some persons in military uniforms and believed to be soldiers, were going round extorting monies from some mining companies in the area, “ the GOC said .
He added that he was directed to effect the arrest of the said soldiers, if they appeared in his area of responsibility.
According to the General, on Saturday, 16th January, 2021, information received indicated that the purported soldiers, had moved to Odahu, a village located in Apapam Forest Reserve.
“The OP CALM LIFE detachment at Tontokrom, was tasked to arrest the said soldiers and a three-man under cover patrol team was therefore dispatched to track the said syndicate to aid in their arrest.”
He said at about 10:45am on the afore-mentioned date, the under-cover team sighted ten men dressed in Ghana Army uniforms and desert camouflage uniforms; five men in civil clothes in a section of the forest reserve, and therefore called the assistance of OP Calm Life Detachment at Tontokrom to assist arrest the suspects involved.
However, the soldiers bolted upon seeing the dust trails of the approaching vehicles of the detachment and the Military Police (MP).
General Aphour therefore stated that the soldiers, who were spotted in a video, were on authorized duty to effect the arrest of the rogue soldiers.
He reiterated that the Detachment has been conducting OP CALM LIFE duties in the Amansie District and has brought relative calm in the area since June 2019.
By Linda Tenyah-Ayettey