The Deputy Defence Minister, Derrick Oduro has emphatically told Citi News that the Ghana Armed Forces has not deployed any military personnel to the mine where the foreigners were arrested on Monday.
According to him, military personnel are only deployed to big mining companies upon request but this has not happened under the current circumstance.
His comment comes on the back claims by the Lands and Natural Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu that the Ghana Armed Force High command deployed some of its personnel to protect galamsey operators in parts of the Ashanti Region.
Mr. Amewu made the claims on Monday during his tour of some galamsey sites in the region.
But speaking to Citi News in an interview, the Deputy Defence Minister said the military men the Lands Minister saw were acting on their own accord.
“When the news came up the Chief of Defence staff has been with me and we have spoken at length on this issue. All the commanders at various places – Chief of Air staff, Chief of Army staff and even Chief of Naval staff were skeptical. Everybody doubts where that information is coming from. It is never true that armed forces are providing security for galamseyers.,” he stated.
He said it’s possible that those Mr. Amewu saw were rather impersonating the military.
“If they are legal miners, there is no problem[but] if they were illegal miners and had come to see the Armed Forces [for protection], no. Armed Forces can never and would never do that. I cannot say that he [Amewu] didn’t meet soldiers there. People are impersonating the military…people are wearing anything similar to the outfit of the military…don’t forget that some of the illegal miners are holding arms.”
“All galamsey activities wherever its being taken place they have hidden weapons there. The police and the military are on them looking for those weapons. So it’s not strange that these people are using arms, left alone uniforms in operating, posing as soldiers,” he added.
Russian galamseyers sought protection from Kumbour
The Member of Parliament for the Manso Adubia constituency, Yaw Frimpong had also claimed that some foreigners who were arrested for mining beyond their allotted concession at Tontokrom in the Amansie West District of the Ashanti Region sought protection from the former Minister of Defence, Ben Kumbour.
“I have made enquiries from the former Minister of Defence , Benjamin Kumbour and he said they applied for protection. I did not agree with him initially but later I felt that maybe the government takes some taxes from them so they would want to protect them,” he said on the Citi Breakfast Show on Tuesday.
We’ll investigate soldiers protecting ‘galamseyers’ – Nitiwul
Meanwhile the Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul has instructed the Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Obed Akwa to immediately begin investigations into allegations of some military men protecting illegal gold mining concessions especially in the Ashanti Region.
He said his outfit will ensure that any military personnel caught engaged in the illegal act will be duly dealt with.