A team from the military has destroyed mining equipment allegedly belonging to illegal miners who have invaded forest reserves in the Kasena-Nankana West District in the Upper East Region.
The equipment included chanfan and drilling machines and small instruments.
On March 23, this year, the Daily Graphic highlighted, in a report, how illegal miners had invaded forest reserves in the Sissala East and the Kasena-Nankana West districts in the Upper East and the Upper West regions and destroyed the forest cover in the process.
Following that report, the Regional Office of the Wildlife Society drew the attention of the relevant authorities to the illegal mining activities taking place in the forest reserves, necessitating the operation by the military team.
The team stormed the Wuru Forest Reserve at Sanyiga-Kasena-Gavara-Kara, a community resource management area in the Kasena-Nankana West District, and burnt all the equipment belonging to the illegal miners and also flushed them out of the community.
However, checks indicate that the military team is yet to move into the Pudo and the Kayoro areas within the same enclave and which are also inside the western territory close to the Ghana-Burkina Faso border.
The Manager of Wildlife for the Northern Sector, Joseph Binlinla, told the Daily Graphic that the operation to flush out the illegal miners from the areas was sanctioned by the government.
He expressed the hope that the team would extend its work to the remaining forest reserves to protect the vegetation in the reserves.
Illegal mining activities
The Daily Graphic report detailed how the illegal miners had caused massive destruction to the environment along the Ghana-Burkina Faso border and were also posing a major threat to wildlife in Ghana’s western border with Cote d’Ivoire, a habitat that hosts the Mole National Park in Ghana.
That border area hosts the seasonal movement of wildlife between the two countries.
The Daily Graphic had gathered that the illegal miners, who are said to comprise both locals and foreigners, had been mining with impunity in the areas over the past four months and were calling the bluff of leaders in the communities, as well as environmental activists.
The Daily Graphic observed, when it visited that area before the operation by the military team, that the illegal miners had destroyed large tracts of natural forests in Pudo, Wuru and Kayoro — all communities in the Sissala East and the Kasena-Nankana municipalities.
They were seen busily mining deep inside the forests and had cut down large numbers of trees. In addition, they had cleared pathways through the forests to facilitate their activities. At the Pudo Forest, for instance, a large tract of land had been cleared of vegetative cover.