The Forestry Commission destroys excavators and apprehends thirty illicit miners.

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Nineteen illegal miners have been apprehended in the Bonsa River Forest Reserve by the Rapid Response Team (RRT) and employees of the Forest Services Division (FSD) in the Tarkwa District of the Western Region.

The arrests took place at Aboso North Range on Friday, June 28, 2024, according to a statement from the Forestry Commission’s Corporate Affairs and Media Relations office.

This operation came after one on June 12, 2024, in which the same woodland reserve saw the arrest of 11 people.

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The suspects have been handed over to the Tarkwa Police Command for further investigation and prosecution.

In the operation on June 12, 2024, 11 suspects, consisting of 10 males and one female, were arrested. They have been remanded in prison custody, and their cases have been forwarded to the Attorney General’s Department for advice.

The statement also mentioned that there are 21 pending illegal mining cases involving more than 111 suspects arrested by officials of the Forestry Commission in forest reserves within the Region.

These cases are at various stages of prosecution at Sekondi High Court 2 and Takoradi Circuit Court.

The statement issued an appeal to the judiciary in the Region to expedite action on all forest offense cases and issued a stern warning against illegal mining.

Additionally, the statement reported that two excavators and one motorbike were immobilized in the Apamprama Forest Reserve, near Kobro, on Friday, June 28, 2024, by FSD staff in the Bekwai District of the Ashanti Region and members of the RRT.

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No arrests were made as the culprits fled upon the team’s arrival.

It has been stated that in order to avoid being apprehended by Commission inspectors, illegal operators in the Apamprama Forest Reserve have turned to nighttime operations.

Due to this, the Commission personnel had to alter their way of working, which resulted in more night patrols and intelligence-led operations that rendered the two excavators immobile.

To protect the forest and animal resources, the Forestry Commission employees in the Bekwai Forest District are still dedicated to fighting the threat of illicit mining.

In order to stop more environmental damage, the statement advised unlawful operators to stay out of the Apamprama Forest Reserve and other reserves.