A man who parades himself as the Ntentanhene of Akyem Tweapease, a farming community in the Kwaebibirem municipality of the Eastern Region, has been beaten by residents of the town for meddling in galamsey activities.
Kingsley Kojo Gyapong, an uncle of the chief of Akyem Tweapease, is believed to have aided three illegal mining companies to the community to mine at the blind side of the traditional authorities.
Reports say the man was beaten by the women in the town with brooms before putting him before the queen mother, Nana Ayimaa Bosompemaa, to respond to the allegations against him.
Osafo Apau, a royal of the town who spoke to the Daily Statesman, said the man was arrested at a galamsey site, several days after he had denied knowledge of any such activity.
Mr Apau stated that, in 2011, a mining company known as Ultimate Mine went to prospect for minerals in the community, but had its staff chased out by a group of young men, led by one Kwadwo Gyapong.
He added that the company later went to the traditional leaders to lobby them for access to the fields, a move which was rejected by the traditional leaders, led by the queen mother.
He explained further that Mr Gyapong, who had led the initial revolt against the the company, took advantage of his relationship with the chief of the town to invite the company to the town to start operations at the blind side of the traditional leaders and the residents of the town.
The company later ganged up with two other companies, owned by a Nigerian and some Indians.
“When he was confronted, he denied knowledge of the act,” said Mr Apau.
He disclosed that, later, some Indian nationals were seen sojourning at the only guest house in the town. Their presence, according to Mr Apau, raised concerns among residents and traditional rulers.
When the Indians were confronted, they claimed they were working in the area and had decided to stay at Tweapease because the environment is serene.
According to Mr Apau, a volunteer group set up by the community to protect its lands from the activities of illegal miners discovered deep in the forests that the Indian nationals had set up a camp and were actually doing illegal mining.
The community on Monday then decided to arrest the Indian nationals and hand them over to the police for the required action to be taken.
He explained that, in their attempt to embark on the arrest, three armed military young men riding on a motorbike appeared from nowhere and started shooting into the crowd.
“Fortunately, the youth were able to overpower them and disarm them,” he said.
He explained that it was when the youth decided to go to the mining site to sack the workers, they met Mr Gyapong riding on a motorbike to the area under contention.
The youth, he stated, arrested Mr Gyapong and decided to take him to the palace, but were confronted by the women of the town who decided to beat him up.
According to Mr Apau, the action of the women were justified because illegal mining in Tweapease is culturally an abomination.
He stated further that, getting him to the palace, Mr Gyapong admitted to the offence and was later handed over to a police which had arrived in the town, upon hearing of the news.
Meanwhile, the Indian nationals have since been sacked from the town, while their activities and that of Mr Gyapong have been reported to the Akyem Asuom District Police Command and the Asamankese Police Division.
Source: Daily Statesman