Regional News Tue, 29 Jan 2013

Police: ‘Galamsay’ To Blame

POLICE: ‘Galamsay’ To Blame For Rampant ‘Causing Harm’ Cases In Obuasi Municipality

DSP Matthew Asante, Obuasi Municipal Police Commander, has disclosed that ‘causing harm’ cases have become rampant in the Obuasi Municipality, far outwitting other crimes committed in the area. This, he attributed to widespread illegal mining (galamsay) activity in the area.

Speaking to The Catalyst in an exclusive interview, DSP Matthew Asante disclosed that police records of 2012 show that the criminal offense of causing harm and related offenses such as causing unlawful damage and threat to harm made the top list of reported cases in the last year. According to him, the cases numbered causing harm 65, causing unlawful damage 58 and threat of harm 48.

He said due to galamsay activities, people in the area have easy access to cutlasses, shovels and other tools used by the illegal miners, which are normally used in committing such crimes, adding that misunderstandings between persons at the mining sites mostly result in the use of these mining tools in causing bodily harm or damage to property.

The Obuasi Municipal Police Commander said the police have identified that the illegal miners engage in such acts because of the notion that the ‘galamsay’ sites are far from the police station, as the sites are normally located in faraway places in the bush.

He however said that his outfit has numbered low numbers of major crimes such as murder, rape, robbery and others over the past year.

According to him, the police have put measures in place to reduce such immoral behaviours. One of the measures, he pointed out to The Catalyst, is the formation of the Small Miners Association. This body, he said has rules and regulations that govern the conduct of members and this will go a long way in keeping the recalcitrant ones among them in check by regulating their conduct.

He also stressed that another way to deal with the situation is that the police will apply the law to the letter in all cases involving causing harm and other criminal offenses, and will put every suspect in that regard before a court of law to serve as a deterrent to others.

On his part, ASP Kofi Dwumfour-Berchie, Obuasi Divisional Police Commander, said that though many people describe the Municipality as a flashpoint in elections, his outfit through a workable strategy took care of any unforeseen circumstances that could have brought about problems.

He said due to the election petition by the NPP at the Supreme Court, the police are alive to their responsibility by being alert in keeping a close eye on the activities of the political parties (NPP and NDC) to make sure that there is peace in the municipality.

“We always advise the political parties and their members to refrain from any activities that will disturb the public peace,” he noted.

Source: The Catalyst