Six Chinese, who entered the Oda Forest Reserve in Manso Aboaboso in the Amansie South District of Ashanti, to carry out illegal mining (galamsey), d three Ghanaian have been arrested by the Operation Vanguard team.
The suspects, Qi Yang, 55, Qin Bu Gi, 48; Wan Ji Li, 42; Wei An, 37, Wei Li, 37, and Qui Wann, 36, allegedly destroyed large tracts of forest in spite of government's ban on illegal mining.
The arrest followed a report made by paramount chief of the area, Nana Bi-Kusi Appiah, to the Operation Vanguard taskforce.
The team also impounded six excavators, three gas cylinders, three mobile handsets, two generators and a locally manufactured gun.
The suspects are in police custody at Manso Datano, since their arrest last Monday, while the excavators have been sent to the Manso Nkwanta District Assembly.
Nana Bi-Kusi Appiah in an interview with the Ghanaian Times, said that if the authorities (the appropriate ministries) fail to prosecute the case "I will take them to court in view of the massive destruction of the forest", adding that "I came to meet the forest in its virgin state, and l will never allow it to be depleted by illegal miners."
He asked the government to stop issuing permits to people to indulge in reclamation of land without involving traditional leaders.
Nana Bi-Kusi Appiah urged the media to highlight illegal mining taking place in parts of the country in spite of the ban, saying "we have travelled a lot, and it is just amazing to see forest reserves of some countries".
He said he contacted some police commanders, and they claimed they did not know anything about such illegal activities, and, commended the Operation Vanguard team for the quick action to effect the arrest.
Colonel Amoah Ayisi, Commander of the Operation Vanguard, confirmed the arrest to the Ghanaian Times, saying that the illegal miners had changed their modus operandi by using torch lights in the night.
He said Operation Vanguard has also devised another means to arrest the illegal miners.
Col Ayisi noted that most of the time "we rely on informants, but these informants play double game at times, so we have mapped out new strategies and we know we will succeed in ensuring illegal mining becomes a thing of the past".