Some three persons have been apprehended for engaging in illegal mining activities in the Bibiani Anhwiaso Bekwai forest reserve in the Western North Region.
Head of the Regional Forestry Commission, Thomas Okyere, who confirmed the arrest in an interview with Adom News correspondent Boah Augustine, said the culprits were arrested during a raid by the military and national forest monitoring taskforce.
According to Mr Okyere, four excavators were set ablaze during the operation.
Two of the excavators were immobilised at Anhwiaso Bekwai forest reserve while the other two were destroyed in a reserve at Aflao Hills.
He indicated that earlier attempts to stop the culprits proved futile because they had set up a barrier and were protected by some bodyguards.
Recounting events that led to the arrest of the culprits, he said: “We sent a letter to the capital, Accra to get reinforcement because harm was being done to the reserve.
“These people had no legal document backing their activities and were encroaching the space of firms who have been permitted to work on that site.”
Mr Okyere stated that deployement of the National Monitoring Taskforce together with the military by the Accra Army Command to be of assitance was needful.
“If not for the military and their support we couldn’t have stopped these people. We will definitely need them in this fight against illegal mining,” he added.
The Western North Regional Forestry Commission was not given a heads up for several security reasons, according to him.
At the end of the operation, several pumping machines used were destroyed and a pick-up vehicle was also impounded.
He urged the Western North Traditional Council to throw its support in the fight against illegal mining and actions that rid the land of resources and development.
He also cautioned some traditional rulers whose names have come up during investigations for either supporting illegal miners or are engaged in illegal mining to desist from such acts.
The three arrested persons are in the custody of the Sefwi Wiawso Police Command pending prosecution.