The District Chief Executive (DCE) for Ellembelle in the Western Region, Kwasi Bonzoh has expressed his frustration about the seeming lack of commitment on the part of the police in the area in the fight against illegal mining also called ‘galamsey’.
The DCE could not fathom why two brand new excavators retrieved from a galamsey site in the area and left in the custody of the police could go missing.
He said the Ellembelle District has recently been in the news for the wrong reasons, especially in the area of galamsey, and indicated that the fight against the menace cannot be left in the hands of only the DCE.
“I have been very consistent that we need concerted efforts in dealing with illegal mining which has become an organized crime”.
“I want to stress that without the commitment of the police, the galamsey fight will come to not”, he pointed out.
The DCE, who is also the chairman of the District Security Council (DISEC) therefore led some of the DISEC members to burn illegal mining equipment at a galamsey site near the Nkroful Senior High School on Thursday.
The move was to serve as a deterrent to every illegal miner operating in the area.
Later in an interview, the DCE noted that he received a distress call from the headmaster of the senior high school on Tuesday about the galamsey activities taking place on a section of the school land.
Kwasi Bonzoh said a member of the District’s Small Scale Mining Committee also reported that two brand new excavators were at that illegal mining site.
“The committee later seized the excavators after they were tracked to a nearby town, Teleku Bokazu. I quickly called the area’s Divisional Police Commander to inform him about it”.
He said he told the Divisional Police Commander, ACP Dodzi Hlordzi that he (DCE) needed men to protect the excavators which had been seized, while the assembly looked for a payloader to convey them to the assembly’s premises.
“To my surprise, the Divisional Police Commander told me that the police did not have enough men in the area to guard the excavators”.
He said the commander later agreed to release two men but said the two personnel could only protect the machines up to 6 pm on that day.
The DCE told journalists that for more than 18 minutes, he tried to convince the Divisional Commander on the phone of the need to give maximum protection to the equipment but the commander insisted his men could guard up to 6 pm.
Kwasi Bonzoh said true to the Commander’s words the two policemen left the machines at 6 pm when the asset had still not been able to secure a payloader to convey the machines.
“We could also not get mechanics to immobilize the machines and when we went there on Wednesday morning, the two escalators were nowhere to be found”, the DCE lamented.
“I knew that if we had kept the excavators, could have been able to identify the owners for the law to deal with them”, stressed.