Some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) working to protect the environment have condemned the action by some military officers who were caught on video protecting illegal miners at the Manso Forest. Despite the withdrawal of all military personnel from mining sites across the country by government, Luv News Erastus Asare Donkor got wind of some over 30 fully armed military men protecting miners degrading the forest of Manso in the Ashanti region. Erastus therefore decided to embark on a journey together with the Environmental Sustainably taskforce of the Ministry of Environment to this part of Manso and its forests. In the video which was released yesterday, they were scenes of destruction and degradation as well as abandoned pits and mining settlements dotted on the road leading into the what is left of the once lush forest. After navigating through the dangerous terrain of open filled pits filled with water, Erastus Asare Donkor and the taskforce arrived at the mining settlement deep within the forest enclave. In the video, seven Chinese nationals were quickly located and arrested and while conducting the search, a young military officer drove into the compound in a pick-up truck. He started making some calls to his superiors. Within 30 minutes, the entire place was crawling with over thirty angry armed military men. For hours, members of the taskforce were surrounded and prevented from moving their vehicles by armed soldiers and a backup of known faces from the Delta Force group led by the owner of Heritage Imperial company, Donald Entsuah. There was a near clash between the Ministry of Environment’s sustainability task force and the military who are allegedly acting as security for the miners. The Chinese were subsequently released. The news team was prevented from filming anything from this time onwards as they overpowered the taskforce and took over. Things became physical as the macho men assaulted Luv Fm’s Erastus Asare Donkor driver; forcibly taking the keys to the vehicle and struggling with the camera technician for the camera. Some members of the Delta Force damaged the equipment of Luv FM’s journalists who were covering the taskforce. Under the watch of the military men, they broke the car’s windscreen and side mirrors. Owner of the site, Donald Entsuah ordered the military to delete all footage from the camera and personal phones. But Erastus Asare Donkor and the team managed to retrieve the recorded footage from the formatted card and finally saved by the Ministry of Environment taskforce.
After the release of the video yesterday, some CSO’s and NGO’s have condemned the military who were caught on tape protecting the illegal miners. Ecocare Ghana, a non-governmental organisation for instance described the incident as sad and unfortunate development. It wrote on its twitter page “This is really a sad and unfortunate development, we stand and watch as our precious forests are being completely degraded, while the people we pay to protect our reserves are rather protecting the perpetuators with impunity. @JoyNewsOnTV #EndGalamseyNow”. A Rocha Ghana also wrote on its twitter page about the incident “If you don't feel angry, sad or disturbed after watching this report from @JoyNewsOnTV, then your conscience may be seared. Ghana, can we win this war? Are we going to see light at the end of the tunnel? #EndGalamseyNow.