The Eastern Regional Operation Vanguard taskforce in collaboration with Forestry Commission staff have arrested nine (9) Chinese and two(2) illegal miners operating in KweiKaru Forest Reserve in the New Abirem District of the Eastern region.
The Chinese are Johnson Zhang, 29, Wang Zheng hou, 55, Wang Zhi Dong, 47,Tony Yin ,47, Cheng Sheng Xhi,61,Zao Wen Lu,43, Liu Zhang Hai,49, Wang Zhi Gong ,47 and,Shi Zhi Hai, 49.
The two Ghanaians arrested are Maxwell Anim, 34 and, Akare Thompson,39.
The team also retrieved cash of GHC66,000, £100,$340, and ¥2,567 and confiscated 1 Mitsubishi Pajaro, 1 Nissan Hardbody ,1 pistol, a Pump action gun, and 1 automatic Rifle with several ammunition.
The taskforce also set ablaze 58 Chanfai machines and torched mining camps of the illegal miners at Nyafoman stretch of the Kweikaru forest reserve.
Speaking to Ultimate News, the Eastern Regional Manager of the Forestry Commission, Mr.Attah Owusu explained that, the illegal miners have degraded to 120 hectares of of the forest land, created many trenches posing danger to the forest guards, fell down many trees to make props to support their trenches while engaging in illegal chainsaw trees in the forest.
He said, the Kweikaru Forest Reserve with size of 1,200 hectares ( 12.00km2) but under serious threat because since 2010 about 1,500 with different nationalities have invaded the forest tracing and mining a gold layer in the forest reserve.
Residents in the Eastern region have raised questions over botched handling of illegal mining cases involving Chinese nationals.
According to them, about 12 illegal miners arrested these year have ‘disappeared”, blaming the Police of failing to prosecute them.
But the Eastern Regional Manager of Forestry Commission has assured that, the Commission will ensure the suspects are prosecuted.
By: Ghana/Ultimatefmonline.com/106.9FM/Kojo Ansah