– ‘Operation Halt 3’
A Presidential Special Initiative taskforce, ‘Operation Halt 3,’ composed of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) and the Ghana Police Service, is undertaking a three-week training course at the Bundase Military Training Camp, in the Ningo-Prampram District in the Greater Region, to revitalize the fight against illegal mining, popularly known as “galamsey.”
The taskforce, which is targeted at protecting water bodies of the country from activities of illegal extraction of the nation’s natural resources, has a mandate to pursue its objectives as long as the situation may demand and has thus been resourced adequately by the state.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the task force, Major Gariba Pabi speaking to newsmen at the Bundase Camp last Friday, July 21, hinted that, much as the taskforce will keep its focus and is not intended on being offensive at any particular target group, no member of the team will act unconcerned and unresponsive if attacked.
He further revealed that, although the operations are mainly land based, the composition of the taskforce includes experts in marine and air who would go into action when the need demands.
The illegal mining phenomenon, which has of recent times assumed a life of its own as ‘public enemy No.1’, is known to be undertaken by certain foreign nationals, with the connivance of their Ghanaian counterparts.
Major Pabi also said that any team which is already in action against the nefarious activity will not be antagonized, but collaborated with, for a successful attainment of objectives.
Adding more urgency to the essence of the team and its training, the director of the Directorate of Public Relations (DPR) of GAF, Colonel Eric Aggrey-Quashie, posited that the team of over 10 platoons, is undergoing weapon-handling and marksmanship with special drills, amidst hectic physical training, to minimize or, if possible, avoid unwanted incidents during their operations.
Colonel Aggrey-Quashie went on to say that the destruction and pollution of water bodies – with mud and dangerous chemicals deployed in their criminal activities, such as cyanide and mercury, which are extremely harmful to life – farmlands and, in certain cases, human habitations, has been attributed to activities of illegal mining, hence the concerted condemnation of most Ghanaians to have it curtailed.
He however stated that weapons and equipment, which may be encountered as a result of their operations, would not be destroyed, but rather confiscated by the rightful authority for further determination.
It has become public knowledge that although recent anti-galamsey actions have brought a reprieve to many such affected areas, there have been media reports of a resurgence of the ill-famed phenomenon.
The Commandant of the Bundase Military Training Camp, Major Karbo, assured of shaping up the trainees to meet the task ahead of them.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/ Kofi Ampeah-Woode