The Ashanti Forward Operating Base (FOB) of Operation Vanguard has arrested six Chinese nationals for engaging in illegal mining (galamsey) in the Oda River Forest Reserve at Aboaboso in the Amansie West District of the Ashanti Region.
The arrested are Wei An, 37, Qiu Wann, 36, Wei Li, 37, Pan Qi Yang, 55, Qin Bu GI, 48 and Wan Jin Li, 42.
The team also confiscated six excavators, two generator sets, one welding machine, three cylinders, and other mining equipment, during a special swoop on Monday June 4, 2018 following a tip off.
Other items seized during the exercise include one locally manufactured gun, three mobile phones, which, together with the suspects, were handed over to the Datano Police Station for further investigation.
Their arrest comes barely a month after the chiefs and people of Aboaboso had stopped some persons, believed to be fronting for the Chinese nationals under the guise of reclamation by the Forestry Commission, from entering the Oda River Forest with excavators, bulldozers and washing machines.
The Forestry Commission has, since February 24, 2018, given approval for the grant of an entry permit to enable the yet-to-be identified Messrs Royal Space Limited to carry out reclamation operations in the Oda River Forest Reserve, under set out conditions.
Mr. Oppong Sasu, acting Executive Director, on behalf of the Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission, gave the approval for the grant of an entry permit, in a letter dated February 24, 2018.
Even though the said approval for the grant of an entry permit was copied to the Regional Manager (Kumasi) and the District Manager (Bekwai) of the Forest Services Division of the FC, the two officials have denied knowledge about the said activities therein, and declined to comment on the issue.