In a dramatic escalation of tensions over illegal mining activities, four individuals have been arrested following violent clashes between local youths in Potroase and the Okyeman taskforce. The confrontation has highlighted the ongoing strife in the region over the controversial practice of galamsey (illegal mining).

The violent altercation, which occurred in the early hours of 20th May, 2024, saw several miners from Akyem Potroase hospitalized at the Kyebi Government Hospital due to injuries sustained during the clash. The local miners resisted the Okyeman taskforce’s enforcement operation, leading to a serious confrontation. Reports indicate that the miners had barricaded entry points to the community with logs, resulting in a violent standoff.

Baffour Asiedu Bekoe, the leader of the Okyeman taskforce and the Akwansrahene of Okyeman, confirmed that the four arrested individuals are currently in police custody in Kyebi, assisting with ongoing investigations. Bekoe emphasized the need for more robust measures against illegal mining, urging Inspector General of Police Dr. George Akufo Dampare and the Defense Minister to intervene. He warned that the persistence of galamsey and illegal logging poses a significant threat to Ghana’s future, especially concerning the protection of water bodies.

This incident follows a similar conflict in Adeiso, where a clash between the taskforce and local youths resulted in the death of a taskforce member. The recent events in Potroase have further intensified the call for stronger enforcement and preventive measures against illegal mining activities.

In the aftermath of the Potroase clash, local leader Krontihene of Akyem Potroase, Nana Felix Ansah, faced retribution from the community. Violent youths vandalized properties in his shop, accusing him of being complicit in the taskforce’s actions.

The police have confirmed the incident but directed media inquiries to the regional headquarters for further details. As the investigation continues, the situation in Potroase remains tense, reflecting the broader national struggle against the environmental and economic impacts of illegal mining.