A former illegal miner, popularly known as Strongman, has said that should a shoot to kill order be issued to the anti-illegal mining (Galamsey) Military Taskforce, Operation Halt, the soldiers will rather record more casualties.
Some statesmen including Ghana’s immediate-past High Commissioner to South Africa, George Ayisi Boateng, have advocated for anyone found on an illegal mining (galamsey) site to be shot dead by the military task force.
According to him, the war being waged by the government against illegal mining must be fought just as it happens on the battlefield where casualties are recorded.
“When the task force meets anyone engaging in galamsey, even if it’s me, the person should be shot to death. All equipment including excavators must be destroyed.
“Anyone who draws a sword dies by the sword. We are waging a battle against galamsey and from what I know there’s no format when one is on the battlefield. Any means by which the battle against galamsey will be won must be applied because Ghanaians are very stubborn…as for this fight against galamsey there should be no mercy for anyone found engaging in the illegal act. Even if it’s an insect that is found at a galamsey site it must be shot dead. Whoever is hired to work at a galamsey site must turn down the offer because he or she may pay dearly with his or her life,” the former diplomat said in an interview with Okay FM monitored by Kasapafmonline.com.
But in an interview on ‘Ghana Kasa’ on Kasapa 102.5FM/Agoo TV Tuesday, June 22, 2021, Strongman, while sharing his experience in illegal mining, told host Bonohene Baffuor Awuah that such a move will be wrong and costly to the nation as most of the illegal miners are well-armed and may even subdue the military taskforce.
“Any order to shoot to kill galamseyers (illegal miners) will not bode well for the country. The galamseyers you see at the various mining sites are not weaklings, they are very brave people. If indeed there’s a shoot and kill order, I can bet you it will be very tough for the soldiers whenever they go for an operation, unless thousands of soldiers are deployed to that site for reinforcement to ensure they are victorious. Again, the galamseyers because they are indigenes know their way about at the mining sites more than the military taskforce and will outwit them,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) has begun phase 4 of its Operation Halt 2 that focuses on removing all persons and logistics involved in mining from the Ankobra River, its tributaries and forest reserves.
Providing updates on the operation, Minister for Defense, Dominic Nitiwul, said government has deployed 401 men of all ranks from the GAF and other sister security apparatus to rid the country’s forest reserves and water bodies of illegal mining activities.