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Operation Vanguard was launched by President Akufo-Addo in July 2017 after an intense media campaign. The campaign called for action to stop galamsey in the country.The devastating remains of galamsey are spread around the country side. The nation’s vegetation cover are almost all gone. Rivers and water bodies which have served generations have had their lives cut short. The ECO system is threatened and our very existence as a people have come under attack. We, at THE SALIS AGENCY have been wondering, how and why illegal mining could be going on a large scale in broad day light when there is supposed to a ban in force. Could there be an official consent or complexity? THE SALIS digs deeper and goes undercover. In the following under cover video, the SALIS NEWSPAPER uncovers how the ban on illegal mining has been disregarded with gross impunity. We take you to Manso Ntonto a town in the Amansie West District of the Ashanti Region. In Manso Ntoto, our crack team of investigators go undercover to expose how the ban on galamsey is being flouted with impunity on the blessing of chiefs, the police, District assembly and operation vanguard. We are introduced to Iddrisu, a young man who could easily pass for one in his late twenty’s or early thirties. Iddrisu’s role on this galamsey site is to control and supervise all the people who are illegally occupying this enclave. Iddrisu himself also mines on this site. There are many illegal miners occupying this vast land. They all either had direct contact with the chief or had to go through middle men like Iddrisu. There is another strong facilitator or middle man who controls affairs on this galamsey site. The people here call him Okomfo) kwade3 and when he is in his element controlling affairs, they call him COMMANDER. Its 11 am on a Sunday morning on this galamsey sight….we were told it is not one of their peak working days. Some Machines are on sight busily moving the earth upon which we stand. In the face of a strict ban, they are mining and destroying the land. Bulldozers and excavators are in full action. The extent of destruction and the deployment of heavy duty machines in broad day light clearly exposes a strong official complicity. We ask, how can galamsey be going on, on this scale without anyone in authority knowing about it? Interestingly, this galamsey site is not one of those hidden in the deep throats of the forest. It is one of the first shocking sights to greet you on entering Manso ntonto. On both sides of the road, the display of greed and the insatiable taste for gold is very evident. On this site are men and women and different types of machines, vehicles and equipment. We are on our way to meet Iddrisu, the man who will lead us and explain to us what we need to do. We see the deep cuts of excavators and shovels on the face of the land. We call iddrissu on reaching his site. We meet Iddirsu, our contact and a galamsey man himself. Iddrisu welcomes The Salis investigator……. We tell iddrissu we have one chanfan currently in Kumasi but will prefer to buy an additional one from them and Iddrisu tells us the price. We tell Iddrissu we met operation vanguard on our way to their site and it’s shocking what iddrisu reveals. Iddrisu reveals that the chief pays them and pays other people including the DCE and the regional minister. Iddrissu further reveals how they are prompted not to go on site on days of operation. It is no wonder how heavy duty and earth moving machines could be working day and night without the police, the district assembly nor operation vanguard , the very task force specially established to deal with galamsey knowing about it. Iddrisu reveals more Iddrisu takes us to meet the man in charge and the only one who can help us establish our galamsey site in this same place. We meet commander aka okomfo) kwade3, the man who has the link to the chief who can give us a concession to begin our galamsey. Commander tells us about the place and how things happen. The salis asked commander how they are able to do galamsey without any hindrance and he initially speaks in parables It’s shocking, how cheap these illegal miners and their sponsors value our lands. They charge between hundred and five hundred cedis per week depending on the part of the land you get and your bargaining skills. Commander advises us to be patient and cautious on the site. He also tells us to work through him and work with his name. He says he doesn’t want our money to go waste so we should listen to him well. He also tells us about how we can chanfan and the price range. It is clear that the ban on illegal mining does not apply to those who are prepared to pay to the powers that be. Corruption has watered down an otherwise important campaign to stop the destruction of our water bodies and land.

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