As of press time yesterday four men who were part of a gang of six illegal miners at Patrensa, a town near Konongo in the Asante Akyim North District of the Ashanti Region, were reported to have died on Sunday night, July 23, 2017, after an abandoned illegal mining pit caved in on them.
Two other persons who were amongst the six galamseyers are however, on admission at the Stewart Hospital at Konongo receiving treatment, while the remaining cannot be found.
The unfortunate incident occurred when the illegal miners were trapped by a break-in of a deep hole where they were illegally prospecting for gold.
Speaking to journalists, although the Asante Akyim District Police Commander, Superintendent Bossman Boadi, confirmed the incident and the number of the dead people, he could not however affirm how many were still left under the earth.
He, however, disclosed that a rescue team involving some police personnel and members of the district assembly had been dispatched to the mining site to look for the rest of the people.
“Our taskforce members are there with an excavator to dig up the soil for us to ensure that nobody is trapped in there,” he stated.
The Patrensa tragedy comes two weeks after another pit caved in on some illegal miners in Prestea-Nsuta in the Western Region.
On July 7, 2017, a mass burial was organised for the 22 illegal miners who were trapped in the pit.
This was after a search and rescue team indicated that the bodies of the trapped illegal miners could not be retrieved after 5 days of rescue mission.
Rocks and debris were piled on the pit to the extent that nobody could reach that part again.
The two disasters have been recorded at a time when there is a renewed fight by the government to clamp down on illegal mining.
The government upon instruction by the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has deployed more than 400 personnel from the Ghana Armed Forces and the Police Service to end the galamsey canker.
The activities of illegal miners have led to the destruction of Ghana’s forest reserves and water bodies.
Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Galamsey Taskforce, Major Gariba Paddy, has disclosed that his men have been tasked to arrest people who are found engaging in illegal mining.
He noted the fully-armed officers will defend themselves if attacked by miners in the course of their operations.
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