Five out of the six illegal miners who died when a pit they were working in collapsed at Atansi-Manso in the Mpohor District of the Western Region have so far been identified.
The accident occurred last Thursday.
The Western Regional Director of NADMO, Abdul Ganiwu, speaking to Citi News after the bodies of the six were deposited at the Effia-Nkwanta Hospital mortuary in Sekondi said, the ages of the five identified ranged between 21 and 24 years.
The identified persons are James Ackah, aged 23; Stephen Obeng, 24; Alex Appiah, 24; Kojo; 21 and Yaw Sarfo, aged 24 years.
The Western Regional NADMO Director, Abdul Ganiwu, told Citi News the incident was kept a secret out of fear hence the bodies were even retrieved before the police got to the scene.
“It is a hilly site where they were doing underground mining and six people went into the pit but unfortunately the whole thing capsized. They got stacked but before the police could arrive, those around had gone ahead to pick excavator to remove all the six bodies who were found dead. Five of them have been identified except one. The police got to know of it around 4:30 pm and went there to pick the bodies to Effia-Nkwanta Hospital mortuary in Sekondi. I think out of fear they couldn’t report to the Police initially, so the police have currently invited the families to come for interrogation.”
“For me I can’t say the local authorities are aware of their activities because these are young men who will go behind everybody to do their own staff. What we (NADMO) are doing with other agency responsible for seeing to the day-to-day running of these mining areas which is currently the IMCIM, is to engage them to know exactly what they are currently doing. This is because I’m aware that they have started commissioning the pilot areas for Community Mining which I’m aware Bowdie is one to see how best we can protect our lands. I believe they can give us the data on what they have done so far. Apart from the Bowdie (Community Mining) which I was there during the launch, the rest of them I know they haven’t started yet. So I am wondering why people will carry their tools and start mining without any authorization.”
Although NADMO says it is going to work with the Inter-ministerial Committee against illegal small scale mining, this latest deadly galamsey accident at Mpohor falls in line with the widespread rumour that illegal small scale mining is still ongoing with possible support from local authorities.