After more than two years of complaints and warnings the Ghana Armed Forces Council has announced that the Military is withdrawing from combating illegal mining.
The Council has ordered the withdrawal of troops from all mining sites, bringing a sudden end to a military campaign that largely vanquished small-scale mining but ceding a strategically vital mining to people of influence and foreign nationals.
Announcing the withdrawal, the Council noted that it has after careful review taken the decision to withdraw all Military Personnel from mining sites including Operation Vanguard over the next three (3) months.
For the Council’s view, the Military should not be deployed perpetually to undertake Civil Police duties especially in curbing illegal mining.
‘The Council has after careful review taken the decision to withdraw all Military Personnel from mining sites including Operation Vanguard over the next three (3) months. The Council’s view is that the Military should not be deployed perpetually to undertake Civil Police duties especially in curbing illegal mining’. A restricted document sighted by this paper read.
The Chief of Defence Staff is directed to withdraw all military personnel.
‘You are directed by the Council to immediately over the next three (3) months withdraw all Military Personnel from the following duties: a. Galamstop Activities b. Operation Vanguard and c. All mining sites. The instructions said.
The Council however, urged the Minister for Interior to instruct the IGP to fill in the vacancies that would be left by the withdrawal of the Military with Police Personnel within Operation Vanguard.
Paying tribute to the personnel, the Council said, on assessing the progress of the activities of Operation Vanguard, the Council was satisfied with the conduct, progress and success chalked by Operation Vanguard over the two and half years of its work and therefore congratulate the Chief of the Defense Staff (CDS) and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) for a good job done.
The move comes as little surprise from an administration that was frequently lambasted for a gamut of perceived failures by Operation Vanguard, particularly the dubious records of seizure and disappearance of earth moving equipment.