By: Kenneth Nsiah Yeboah , Bekwai
The Bekwai District Office of the Forestry Services Division (FSD) is on manhunt for illegal miners, who have invaded the Bosomtwe Forest Reserve and destroyed Cedrela type of Mahogany species plantation.
The Illegal miners, who use heavy – duty machinery, have also destroyed farm lands and dug holes in the Forest reserve close to a town called Mintim in the Bosome Freho District.
In an interview with The Herald, concerning their illegal activities, the Bekwai District Manager, Rexford Twum – Damoah, said upon a tip off, a team of Forest guards went on a swoop, but did not meet the illegal miners.
The team, however, he said, managed to confiscate some of their items, including gallons of fuel and pumping machines.
He explained that, the team also removed the control board of the excavator the illegal miners used, thereby rendering it immobile.
According to him, Mr Twum – Damoah, the miners had destroyed close to 0’5 hectares of the forest reserve, saying that they were working from outside into the reserve”.
So far, he noted, no arrest had been made and the team was still investigating the encroachment, adding that with the help of community members” we will be able to apprehend them”
Mr Twum – Damoah, said entering a forest reserve and mining without a permit was a criminal act for which, when perpetrators were arrested, they would be made to face the rigours of the law.
The people of the town pointed accusing fingers at some Chinese for being the brains behind the wanton destruction of their farmlands, but the District Forest Manager said from the information he had gathered”, the illegal miners are local people”
The chiefs and the elders of Mintim pointed out that they were helpers in the face of the illegal mining taking place in the community and blamed the ineptitude of the political authority for being the cause of their activity.