The Forestry Commission has been detailing an ambush Rapid Response Team on Friday (10 November), as they performed a sanctioned duty in the Desiri Forest.
The personnel were responding to reports of suspected illegal miners pillaging portions of the reserve at Mfante-Subreso, in search of gold.
Despite the government’s commissioning of a community mining scheme in 2021, operated by the Ensuro Group of Companies, the Forestry Commission asserts that portions of the Desiri Forest have been devastated by illegal mining activities, prompting their intervention.
“[That place] is a gazetted forest reserve”, said Clement Omare, the Regional Manager of the Forestry Commission. So, we told them that they could not do any form of community mining.
“So, I went there last Monday with my district commander to warn them to desist from such activities. When we went there, there were more than 1,500 people. So, when I came back, I reported to the head office about the situation, hence the deployment.
Mr Omare said the team met the place deserted but decided to set all equipment on sight ablaze.
“Not knowing they [the miners] laid ambush. So, when they started setting the equipment ablaze the people started coming, attacking our people. And this led to the death of the two victims”, he explained.
Dailymailgh.com gathers that at least three survivors are receiving treatment at the Tepa Government Hospital.
The family of Abdul Samed Razak, 35, and Hashmil Usman, 25, have however joined forces to seek justice for their sons. The youth of Pokukrom where the victims lived have already issued a four-day ultimatum to local authorities to bring closure to the matter.
“You’ve killed a human being like an animal,” the sister of the deceased said while in tears.
“The officers from Forestry Commission drew a line on the ground that we shouldn’t cross it. But one of the deceased, Razak, did not heed and went ahead to cross it. That’s when they started shooting him. They shot him several times, but he survived. So, they surrounded him and hit his neck with the butt stock of their gun,” Andy, a witness, recounted to JoyNews.
Meanwhile the Forestry Commission has withdrawn its officers from its Mankraso District Office, pointing to a planned reprisal attack. The Ahafo Ano Municipal Security Council has also summoned a meeting over the development.
“I have informed my superiors that we need some additional men on site. But for now, I have withdrawn all my staff from my place. Now we are arranging to get more men to secure the place, Mr Omare posited.
SOURCE: DAILY MAIL GH