The bodies were retrieved from an abandoned mining pit Sunday morning with bruises and marks of assault on them, suggesting that they were beaten to death by unknown persons.
The ‘Operation Vanguard’ taskforce – comprising military and police personnel that has been charged to check illegal mining activities in the country – has denied knowledge of the crime.
The Commanding Officer of ‘Operation Vanguard,’ Colonel William Agyapong, claimed, “I don’t know where the story is coming from.
“Only last week there was another story that ‘Operation Vanguard’ had killed somebody at Juaboso District. If it’s propaganda it will fail because the good people of Ghana will see through it. I have crosschecked with the patrol team that went to Akukuso yesterday and they had no activity there; it is falsehood, it has nothing to do with our operation,” he insisted.
Initial reports suggested that the joint military-police taskforce deployed to the area to stem illegal mining, allegedly shot the four at the galamsey site.
When contacted by DAILY GUIDE on Sunday, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Bismark Achab, who is the team leader of ‘Operation Vanguard’ in the area, denied the claim that the military men gunned down the four.
He insisted via a telephone conversation, “We are not responsible for the death incident. We don’t know anything about it; our men don’t work in the night. We were instructed not to work in the night. Our operations are done in broad daylight and not in the night. We didn’t go there that night for any operations.”
He added, “I am stating emphatically that we have no knowledge about the deaths.”
A DAILY GUIDE source, who confirmed the incident, said the four persons were sent to a small-scale mining site at about 8:30 pm on Saturday to dispatch some equipment.
According to the source, when the four workers were going to the site, they called the site owner and reported that another vehicle was following them.
The site owner then asked them to stop where they were and that he was going to follow them. The site owner, after some few minutes, could not connect with their phones.
The source said the site owner then raised an alarm, but the four were not found in the night until Sunday when they were found dead in the pitch.
DAILY GUIDE’s further checks indicated that the police attempted to convey the bodies to the Kibi Government Hospital but faced resistance from some incensed illegal miners at Anyinam and Kwabeng, who went to the police station demanding the bodies for burial.
When the news broke, some of the angry miners and youth of the area also mounted road blocks from Kwabeng to Anyinam, attacking the police over the bodies of their departed colleagues.
The unfolding incident, which created fear and panic in the area, took the intervention of the Member of Parliament for the area, Kwasi Amoako Atta – who is also the Minister of Roads and Highway – to hold talks with the youth on Sunday.
A Unit Committee member of the area, Benjamin Morvey, told Citi Fm that they had so far received conflicting reports on the death of the four.
“Some are saying that it is the vanguard operators who killed them and some are saying they need answers from the excavator owner so that they will know what transpired. We are receiving all sorts of conflicting reports,” he said.
Mr. Morvey added that despite the ban on small-scale mining in the country, “mining has been going on in this area; some people have been mining in the night.”
The Kwabeng District police, in their preliminary report, said their attention was drawn to the incident on Sunday by one Isaac Annor.
“One Yaw with three others was in-charge of a pay loader vehicle which was carting an excavator machine to Extra Gold Mining concession at Akukuso, near Kwabeng. That on reaching a section of the road…they were reported to have encountered personnel of the ‘Operation Vanguard’ taskforce, so the operator and other occupants all abandoned the vehicle with the engine running; but found no one on board and still could not be traced. Police proceeded to the scene of the incident, combed the area and found an abandoned mining pit filled with water.”
From Daniel Bampoe, Kwabeng