It appears the Chinese are not ready to quit their illegal mining activities in the country despite government’s ban.
In a latest swoop, 16 suspected Chinese illegal miners were arrested inside the Kobro forest reserve in the Ashanti region.
They were arrested following an operation by the taskforce working under the Inter-ministerial committee against illegal mining.
Among the seized gadgets and items were 14 long butt pump action assault rifles and one rare military grade M16 assault rifle.
Accra-based Joy FM reports that six new excavators were also grounded at the time of the taskforce’s arrival, with two ex-military officers guarding the site.
This is the latest in a series of arrests involving Chinese nationals, who have often defied government’s ban on illegal mining, commonly known as galamsey.
Earlier this year, President Akufo-Addo told Chinese authorities that the Ghana government will not hesitate to prosecute any Chinese national caught engaging in illegal mining activities.
He said illegal mining has led to the destruction of many lands and water bodies in Ghana, and must therefore not be condoned.
The President made the statement whiles addressing some Chinese officials and a section of Ghanaians as part of his state visit to China in September.
He said the laws on illegal mining need to be enforced, adding that an arrest of a Chinese illegal miner was not an attack on China.
“This phenomenon of galamsey has left a devastation of large tracts of Ghana lands. In many areas the lands have become ugly because of this indiscriminate exploitation of the lands with some of them going deep into forest reserves,” President Akufo-Addo said.
“People go and dig in forest reserves at midnight hoping to escape the scrutiny of the law enforcement agencies and they have active support and connivance sometimes of our own men…
“Our water bodies across the country, you drive through Ghana, you can’t drink Birem River anymore because it is now a dirty tract of water. There is no future if we continue down that road and together we have to stop it.
“Unfortunately for us, again, there are foreigners who are acting in this area. Some of them come from here [China]. In my meeting with President Xi Jinping yesterday, I said it to him frankly that we have this situation and many of his compatriots are involved in this exercise and I want him to understand that when the law enforcement agencies in Ghana act against them, we’re not acting against Chinese.”
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