C/R: Three die in galamsey pit collapse, others trapped

More than 10 others are reported trapped in the illegal mining pit that collapsed leading to the death of at least three people
At least three persons have been confirmed dead after an illegal mining pit caved in on them in Bremang in the Upper Denkyira West District of the Central Region on Wednesday 26 May.
Multiple media sources say the dead include two women and a man.
“At this time, we have been able to retrieve only three bodies and they have been handed over to the police,” Assembly member for Breman, Francis Agyapong, told Akoma FM.
“We pray that we can remove them on time to save them, but those we have even retrieved have already died so we are helpless and don’t even know what to do,” he added.
Eyewitnesses say close to 15 others remained trapped in the pit as locals join a team of police and disaster officials from the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) to rescue them.
The police are yet to comment on the incident.
Ghana has recently renewed the fight against illegal mining in the country by deploying soldiers to protect water bodies.
Operation Halt II has resulted in the destruction of several mining equipment including the burning of excavators at galamsey sites in the Central, Eastern and Western regions in particular.
Army chief’s concern
A high powered military delegation led by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Vice Admiral Seth Amoama, expressed shock at the level of devastation that the activities of illegal small scale miners (galamsey) have visited on River Mempong, one of the major tributaries of River Birim in the Akim Kwabeng Traditional Area.
The Birim River is one of the main tributaries of the Pra River in Ghana and the country’s most important diamond-producing area, flowing through most of the width of the Eastern Region. The river rises in the east of the Atewa Range, flows north through the gap between this range and the Kwahu Plateau, then runs roughly south-west until it joins the Pra.
Asaase News sources familiar with the visit indicated that the Chief of Defence Staff’s delegation, which included the Chief of Army Staff, General Officer Commanding (Southern Command), Commanding Officer of the 64 Infantry Regiment, among others at the end of their tour on 22 May 2021, concluded that, “the devastation is unimaginable.”
Observations of the delegation
Among others, the delegation identified three things that they say were very clear to them and what ought to be done to address same.
First, the delegation observed, “River Mempong, one of the major tributaries of River Birim is completely devastated and reduced to a series of isolated ponds scattered across an area of about 1.2 km square.”
The water channel of River Birim, the delegation says “has been diverted several times through mining activities; leaving in its trail a thin strip of water meandering its way through the landscape and the environmental degradation occasioned by surface mining has completely destroyed the catchment area of this river.”
Secondly, the CDS and his team noticed that there is no sign of reclamation and tree planting activities in the said devastated area to revive the ecological landscape.
Thirdly, the team discovered that a large number of excavators and bull dozers of varied sizes had been moved from various mining sites and re-located within the surrounding settlements and villages nearby, either to be moved away or to be redeployed when the tempo of operation HALT II died down.
According to Asaase News sources familiar with the activities of the delegation, some mining equipment destroyed by Operation HALT II were found at some of the galamsey sites they visited and they are concerned about the possible repair of these equipment by its owners to resume their illegal mining activities when Operation HALT II is relaxed.

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