Residents of Akyem Hemang in the Fanteakwa South District of the Eastern region have petitioned President Akufo-Addo over elements in the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) engaging in illegal mining and logging of economic trees in the area.
According to them, the involvement of some bigshots in the governing party has led to wanton destruction of their arable lands.
“The seeming insecurity on Akyem Hemang Stool lands is as a result of what we perceive to be political involvement of NPP party big wigs and it is breeding a worrisome situation needing the attention of the security apparatus of the state,” they said in their petition to President Akufo-Addo.
They also accused officials of Operation Vanguard, an anti Galamsey Taskforce led by the Eastern Regional Chairman of the NPP, Kingston Okomeng Kissi who is a miner and the District Chief Executive, Adjabeng Ntori for supervising blatant disregard to mining regulations in the surrounding areas by Dome Mining Enterprise and Gyampomani Mining as well as Illegal logging by BB Alang Co.Ltd.
They say the two companies who are polluting the Birim River, which is the source of drinking water for residents, had grossly flouted the 100 meters space that must be left at the riverbank beyond which mining operation could be done. “Galamstop which was set up to protect river Birem has rather come to provide protection for these illegal mining operations at Akyem Hemang -Osino side of the river Birem. Personnel of Galampstop instead of doing their mandate, rather standby and watch the illegal miners carry out their illegal activities unperturbed,” the petition said. The petition followed a Press Conference and Protest by residents of Akyem Hemang Monday to reinforce their concern.
The Residents clad in red and black dresses holding placards hit the street and invaded the mining site ostensibly to show Journalists about the devastation being caused by the mining company.
This triggered warning shots by some workers at the site but they were overpowered and a pump-action gun seized.
Some residents mostly peasant farmers told Starr News all arable lands in Akyem Abuakwa have been degraded except Akyem Hemang, which has over the years kicked against illegal mining.
They said they would continue to resist any attempt to introduce illegal mining to the community, which could be deleterious to farming.
However, residents of Gyampomani a neighbouring community led by some illegal miners subsequently mounted roadblocks, preventing cars from moving to and from Akyem Hemang amidst molestation and manhandling of drivers and passengers while threatening to crush protestors at Akyem Hemang opposing mining in the area.
They accused residents of Akyem Hemang of being incited by their de-stooled chief, Prof. Mirikissi Apori Atta.
It took reinforcement team from the Eastern Regional Police Command to restore law and order in the communities after Police team from Kibi District and Osino struggled to contain the situation.
The District Chief Executive for Fanteakwa South Adjabeng Ntori parried accusations of being indolent over the environmental degradations o the area. He also told Starr News several efforts had been made together with the regulatory bodies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and Water Resources Commission to stop the mining companies from mining close to the Birim river have been disregarded.
A joint team of armed Police and Galamstop, an anti galamsey taskforce numbering about 50 on Saturday stormed the Akyem Hemang Community in the Fanteakwa South District of the Eastern Region following clashes between the mining company and the agitating residents protesting against mining at the river banks of Birim river.
The residents blocked the company from carting an excavator through the community to their mining site at Dome community forcing the company to reportedly unleash some thugs to also block the main road leading to the community.
This action infuriated the already incensed residents of Akyem Hemang who pounced on the thugs to beat them up and attempted to set fire into the hijacked excavator.
Akyem Hemeng recently came into the news after Okyenhene Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin de-stooled their chief, Prof.Mirikissi Apori Atta.
Mark Kofi Aremu, Youth Leader of Akyem Hemang told Starr News their Chief Osabarima (Prof) Mirikisi Okasum Apori Atta’s destoolment by Okyenhene Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin is purely linked to his fight against environmentalist destruction.