The Concerned Small Scale Miners Association says government must immediately intervene in the alleged brutalization of some miners on a concession of AngloGold Ashanti at Obuasi in the Ashanti Region.
According to the group, reports that the area is a concession currently being mined by AngloGold Ashanti are inaccurate and that the miners had permits under government’s community mining scheme.
President of the Concerned Small Scale Miners, Michael Kwadwo Peprah while speaking on Eyewitness News said the assault meted out to the miners is incomprehensible and must be investigated.
“As we speak now, Anglogold Ashanti is not working in that enclave. So, I think, what we need to do is to find a pragmatic solution to helping the indigenes find their daily bread. As a matter of fact, some of these people have registered with the community mining scheme. If we want to curb galamsey, we must find jobs for these people instead of harassing and suppressing them in whatever they do”, he lamented.
Michael Kwadwo Peprah also noted that a legal team is currently working to get bail for the over 40 miners who were apprehended on the day of the incident.
He further called on the Lands and Natural Resources Minister to intervene.
“Some of the miners are now in the hospital after they were beaten and made to lie in the mud. They had to go through all this ordeal. If this thing is continued, it will not augur well. This is bad and must be spoken against. So we are only appealing that, the government and the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources put their foot on the ground and find a lasting solution to the problem.”
Already, the Minority in Parliament is demanding an independent probe into allegations of torture meted out to suspected illegal miners arrested on the concession.
The Ranking Member of the Mines and Energy Committee, John Jinapor, says how the military perpetrated the act leaves much to be desired.
“Over 60 years now, the small-scale miners have been working there. This is not something new that they have been doing, so we’re surprised that the military went in there with brute force and started harassing these people as if they are criminals. These people are not criminals. Mining is what their livelihoods depend on. So we don’t understand why the military will go in there and act in that manner. If they want to use the law, this is not how it is done”, Mr. Preprah stressed.