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General News of Thursday, 27 December 2012

Source: Graphic Online

Three illegal miners die in separate incidents

Three illegal gold miners (galamsey operators) have lost their lives in two separate mining incidents at Mpamprom in Ashanti Region and Manwe in the Upper West Region.

In the first instance, two miners died at Mpamprom, near Subriso, in the remote part of the Ahafo Ano North District of Ashanti Region, where their mining pit caved in

They have been identified as Kwabena Kuma, alias Grumah, 45, and Mumuni Dabre, 41

Their remains had been deposited at the Tepa Hospital morgue pending further police investigations.

The incident occurred on Saturday December 22, 2012, a day set aside as sacrilegious by the local traditional authority.

Galamsey activities were banned in the community on the day in line with traditional beliefs, but Kuma and Dabre ignored the religious significance of the day to mine for gold.

Not even a red flag placed at the mouth of the cave by unidentified persons, apparently to signify the danger posed by the cave, could scare them not to venture.

A police officer, speaking to graphic.com.gh from Tepa, said the Mpamprom area had a number of caves left behind as a result of illegal mining.

At about 7am that fateful day, Kuma and Derbe were excavating for the mineral when the walls caved in.

When word reached some members of the community about the incident, they rushed to the scene, but Kuma was already dead, while Mumuni died on his way to the hospital.

In the case of the second incident, one galamsey operator was shot dead while five others sustained various degrees of gunshot wounds when some unidentified men suspected to be armed robbers attacked them at a galamsey mining site at Manwe in the Wa East District of the Upper West Region.

The deceased, whose name was given only as Francis 22, was with the five others and other galamsey operators busily prospecting for gold when the incident occurred.

The acting Public Affairs Officer of the Upper West Regional Police Command, ASP Edmund Nyamekye, in a briefing said, police had a report from a man named Sule, a leader of a group of galamsey operators, that at about 5:30 pm last Sunday they were prospecting for gold when, suddenly, they heard gunshots.

After carefully monitoring the situation, the operators are said to have observed that the shots were directed at them.

Sule who was also armed at the time, returned fire to ward off the attackers but in the exchange he realised that six of his men had been hit by bullets.

Sule is said to have quickly arranged to transport the six injured men to the Wa Regional Hospital, but Francis died on the way.

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