The Ghana Armed Forces say it has observed with grave concern unprovoked violent attacks on its troops by some illegal mining-riddled communities in the Ashanti region during legitimate operations to flush out unlicensed gold miners commonly known as ‘galamsey’.
Such tendencies, according to the Ghana Armed Forces, even though disturbing, cannot demotivate the Forces to back down from its assigned duty to help the government nib the environmentally destructive phenomenon in the bud and that, henceforth, any such unruly attitude towards soldiers will be met with the most appropriate reactions.
The General Officer Commanding the Central Command of the Ghana Armed Forces, Brigadier General Joseph Aphour, gave the warning at Kwadaso near Kumasi in the Ashanti region at during this year’s West African Soldiers Social Activities.
The West African Soldiers Social Activities, WASSA, is an occasion for both soldiers and civilian staff of the Ghana Armed Forces to shed off some of the work-related stress through social activities with their families and other stakeholders.
This year’s edition for the staff of the Central Command of the Ghana Armed Forces is the first since the outbreak of COVID-19. It began with the Special Guest of Honour, the Ashanti Regional Minister, who doubles as Chairman of the Regional Security Council, REGSEC inspecting a Quarter Guard mounted in his honour in line with protocols and courtesies of the Military.
He also inaugurated a commercial sachet water production factory financed by the Central Command as an additional income-generating venture.
Towards achieving the mission of the factory, a new truck to help with the distribution of the sachet water has also been procured and also outdoored. The WASSA, attended also by some representatives of the other state security services in the Ashanti region, saw the soldiers thrill their guests with some activities such as a tactical attack on enemies, weight lifting and Apples eating competitions.
Both the soldiers and their guests as well had enough to eat and drink with those who performed exceptionally in the course of the year, were recognized and awarded prizes in appreciation.
Brigadier General Aphour said the Command has undertaken a number of operations that have helped to ensure security in the Ashanti region since the beginning of this year. Key among these has been their lead role in the government’s fight against illegal gold mining activities in an effort to protect the natural environment from grave destruction.
Major General Aphour noted with worry, however, that, the troops were violently attacked by some members of the gamasey-riddled communities without any provocation, warning that, such attitudes will no longer be tolerated as the galamsey fight will continue till success is achieved.
“The posture of some locals towards troops on anti-galamsey operations has been a cause of worry to us. There have been instances where some locals pelted troops with stones and other harmful materials on which they laid their hands. Some of these individuals sometimes wield deadly weapons at troops, all in an attempt to frustrate us from undertaking their legally sanctioned duties. It is my hope that appropriate stakeholders would be impressed upon to caution these youth to desist from such acts to avoid any clash with the military and other security agencies”, the GOC cautioned.
Nonetheless, he warned also soldiers who, either as individuals or in troops, embark on operations not sanctioned officially since such acts constitute a breach of operational procedure.
The General Officer Commanding the Central Command enumerated some progress made since he assumed duty.
These include the ongoing construction of accommodation for officers, provision of regular potable water supply systems at both the Command Headquarters and the Iddris Barracks, and completion of the commercial water production factory with a delivery truck and a coconut plantation as additional income generation sources.
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr. Simon Osei Mensah, noted that the region is now relatively peaceful mainly due to the cooperation, unity and teamwork among the various security services.
He commended the Command of the Central Command also for the various initiatives to generate additional income to support what the government provides, which he admitted, is inadequate.
Mr. Osei Mensah however reminded the Military that they have more work to do to ensure absolute peace and security in the region in the ensuing year.
The REGSEC Chairman said “I have reiterated time and again, that the rate at which our water bodies and the environment are being destroyed due to illegal mining across the region. I urge you to continue to support us with the fight so that the menace can be dealt with.”