The Ashanti Regional Forward Operating Base (FOB) of Operation Vanguard taskforce has arrested five suspects, including four Chinese and a Ghanaian, who claims to be an operative of the National Security, for engaging in illegal alluvial mining.
The taskforce seized and destroyed 30 ‘Chanfan’ machines mounted on Rivers Oda and Offin.
The team also seized one AK 47 assault rifle, a magazine filled with 13 live ammunitions, three pump action guns with 9 live cartridges.
In a statement issued by Operation Vanguard, under the signature of DSP Ebenezer Tetteh, which has been sighted by The Chronicle, the taskforce named the suspects as Li Xuh Jun, 51, Mo Chi Cai, 52, Wei Fun Ham, 45 and Wei Ziyun, 38.
According to the information, four other suspects, led by one Yusif Fuseni, who claimed to be a National Security operative protecting the illegal miners at one of the sites, were also arrested and are currently assisting the police with its investigations.
According to DSP Tetteh, the suspects are on police enquiry bail and would be put before court as soon as their investigations are concluded.
The activities of illegal miners, especially those engaged in alluvial mining, have been the source of pollution of Rivers Oda and Offin in the Ashanti Region.
The activities of these illegal miners have not only polluted the water bodies, increasing its turbidity level and making it costly for the raw water to be treated for consumption, but have also affected aquatic life as dangerous chemicals are washed into the rivers.
The Oda and Offin rivers are major sources of water for communities within its catchment area. The people also depend on it for farming and fishing activities, which is the source of their livelihood.