31 July 2017. A joint Task Force made up of four hundred (400) highly motivated officers and men drawn from the Ghana Army, Navy, Air Force and the Ghana Police Service has been deployed to combat illegal mining activities in the Eastern, Ashanti and the Western Regions on Monday 31 July, 2017.
This was in line with the President of the Republic and the Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, HE Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo’s initiative to combating illegal mining activities, otherwise known as “Galamsey” in the affected communities.
In an address, the Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation and Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Task Force against illegal mining, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, stated that it was imperative for the operation to be launched to flush out illegal miners in the forest and water bodies. He added that the Task Force would remain in the affected areas until degraded land and rivers are restored.
He indicated that another team, made up of personnel of the Ghana Navy and Marine Police would be constituted to take over the monitoring of the major rivers and water bodies until illegal mining activities are completely eradicated.
He commended the President of the Republic of Ghana, HE Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo, for taking such a bold decision in confronting the ‘Galamsey menace.
Operation Vanguard is a joint Military and Police Task Force constituted to put an end to all forms of illegal mining activities popularly known as “Galamsey’’. The Task Force has been divided into three Forward Operational Bases (FOB) thus Western, Eastern and the Ashanti Region, and assigned commanders and appointments at various levels. The Task Force concentrated at the Bundase Training Camp for an intensive pre-deployment training before their final deployment to the FOB.
According to the Defence Minister, Hon Dominic Nitiwul, government would continue to support and provide the needed logistics to the Task Force and warned that no one should dare the operation. He lamented the damage caused by the activities of illegal mining, “over five thousand (5000) excavators throughout the country are engaged in the destruction of our water bodies and farm lands’’. He advised the troops to be professional in the discharge of their duties in their respective areas of operation.
On his part, the Chief of the Defence Staff, Lieutenant General Obed Boamah Akwa, urged all ranks to use their initiative and professional judgment in the discharge of their duties and appealed to them to go forth with courage and clear conscience. He said with such an approach, there was no reason to doubt the success of the operation.
Present at the ceremony were some Ministers of State and their Deputies, Service Chiefs, Director Generals, Senior Officers from the Ghana Armed Forces and the Police Service and other dignitaries.