Machete wounds inflicted by dozens of illegal miners on three military officers and some officials of the Forestry Commission (FC) in the Bosomtwe Forest Reserve at Koneyaw near Bekwai on Thursday, have left two of the security officers hospitalized at the emergency unit of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi.
Staff Sergeant Christopher Tanigh and Corporal Fredrick Osei Bonsu, attached to the 4BN in Kumasi, were said to be in critical condition, while their colleague, Corporal Abdulai Sharif and three other FC officials, Frank Adomako Kwabia, Peter Acheampong and Baah Acheamfour, were treated and discharged at the Bekwai Government Hospital.
The attack, which is the first deadly confrontation to be recorded in the area, happened at about 4:30pm inside the Bosomtwe Forest Reserve where there have been continuous galamsey activities.
It took the intervention of a police patrol team from the Bekwai Divisional Police Command to save the lives of the 20-man contingent organized by the Forestry Commission to stop the illegal mining activities that were destroying the forest.
ASP Daniel Allen Pogpaah, Bekwai Divisional Crime Officer, said Staff Sergeant Christopher Tanigh and Corporal Osei Bonsu would have been killed by the galamsey operators if not for the timely intervention of the police patrol team.
He told DAILY GUIDE that the attack started when the military officers, together with FC officials, reached a roadblock that was mounted by the galamsey operators in the middle of the road leading to the forest.
According to him, the contingent, made up of three military officers, five forestry officials and carriers as well as drivers, was returning from the forest after carting away some tools and machines of the galamsey operators.
ASP Pogpaah said the miners, who were numbering about 200, quickly surrounded the operation team when the vehicles they were travelling on stopped close to the roadblocks.
Before the leader of the team, Staff Sergeant Christopher Tanigh, could say anything, the galamsey operators rushed on him with machetes and inflicted wounds over his body.
He narrated that other incensed mob-like miners turned their fury on Corporal Fredrick Osei Bonsu when the officer attempted to fire a warning shot to save his boss, butchering him in the process.
The rest of the galamsey operators also responded by attacking other members of the operation team, slashing them at will.
Francis Bawuah, Bekwai District Officer of Forestry Commission said as if that was not enough, the illegal miners smashed windscreens of the two vehicles used for the operation, one of which- Toyota Haliux registered GT 2589 U- belonged to the commission, and the other, a Kia truck with registration number AS 4838-12, hired for the exercise.
“There has been a continuous operation of galamsey activities at the Bosomtwe Forest Reserve by these people. They did not budge to the numerous appeals to move out of the forest reserve, which we have obligation to protect,” he pointed out.
According to him, they received A directive to embark on the Thursday operation, which they did, but suffered A serious attack in the line of duty.
Crime Officer ASP Daniel Allen Pogpaah also said the police managed to arrest one of the galamsey operators, who was assisting in investigation.
The police had since retrieved the M/16 military gun seized by the galamsey operators during the confrontation, but were yet to recover mobile phones and wallets of the military officers containing ID cards, cash and other valuables.
ASP Pogpaah failed to give the name of the suspect in custody, though a source revealed it as Akwasi Mensah.
Source: Daily Guide
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