General News Sat, 21 May 2005
Obuasi, (ASH) May 21, GNA - A Military cum police-led operation took off in Obuasi on Friday as management of AngloGold Ashanti (Obuasi) launched its attack on illegal pits constructed by illegal miners (galamseyers) in the company's concession.The operation, which is expected to be on-going till all the scattered pits are destroyed was, on the first day supervised by 21 soldiers and five policemen.
This followed an ultimatum the company gave to the illegal miners some weeks ago to pack their equipment and leave the concession since their illegal activities were creating problems for the company. In some areas within the concession, these galamsey operators had constructed pits linking to the company's operations underground and thereby disturbing normal activities.
At least 15 to 20 illegal pits dotted around the Ellis and West shafts of the Obuasi section of the mine were destroyed on the first day.
Other areas left included the cut three and four of the Sansu section of the mine.
Speaking to newsmen later, Col. Steve Oduro-Kwarteng (rtd), Head of the Special Services Division (SSD) of the company expressed happiness that the galamsey operators did not offer any resistance during the operation.
"We are happy that the galamsey people have left the area for us to do the job in peace."
Col Oduro-Kwarteng noted that the company could not allow the illegal miners to have their freedom to operate within the concession. He said they had identified all their areas of operation adding,
"As often as they come, so often shall we also go there to destroy them."
The head of the SSD expressed serious concern about the way the galamseyers were operating close to the company's underground workplaces.
'We have to stop them from operating in such areas,' Col Oduro-Kwarteng stressed, adding, "today's operation is a signal that we are not looking on unconcerned."