The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) have uncovered an illegal explosives manufacturing hub in Tarkwa, Western Region, resulting in the arrest of 13 foreign nationals.
The syndicate, comprising eight Chinese, three Togolese, an Ivorian, and a Nigerian, were found to be producing over 20,000 pieces of illegal explosives, including around 10,000kg of ammonium nitrate concealed in flour and rice sacks.
“Most of the ammonium nitrate were concealed in flour and rice sacks,” GAF said in a statement.
The explosives were seized on the premises of Mohammed Brothers Company Limited and Dekete Mines in Tarkwa. The GAF conducted the operation with the aim of clamping down on illegal dynamite production and use in mining areas.
“The operation . . . was premised on detailed intelligence aimed at clamping down on the manufacture, sale and use of illegal dynamite in parts of the country, especially mining areas,” the GAF statement read.
The suspects have been screened and transferred to the National Security in Accra for further investigation.
Community members expressed their concern about the danger the syndicate posed, especially with the current threats from terrorists in the northern border areas of the country.
“ . . the operations of the syndicate posed a threat to lives and properties,” said one community member who spoke to Daily Graphic.
Community members have since commended GAF for its intervention, as an explosion could have caused catastrophic damage.
A military source warned that ammonium nitrate mixed with diesel can be dangerous, and exposure to its dust can lead to respiratory disease. The source added that the location of the explosives production near a populated area and school posed a significant threat.
“It is important to let the public know that ammonium nitrate mixed with diesel tends to be dangerous when there is a blast. Aside from that, exposure to the inhalation of high concentrations of ammonium nitrate dust could lead to respiratory diseases,” the military source said.