The Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners (GNASSM) has called for the immediate release of its taskforce and other members who were recently arrested by a group of military men on the instructions of Ashanti Regional National Security Boss.
Describing the arrest as one sided unfounded allegation, the leadership has rejected extortion and harassment charges as well as posing as military put before public domain by the Ashanti Regional National Security outfit.
GNASSM is therefore calling for the immediate release of the suspects who have been in military custody since 8th September, 2021.
According to the association, the facts put before the public after the arrest of the suspects were twisted just to taint the image of the taskforce and has defended the suspects for no grievance offense.
In a statement read by Mr. Abdul Razak Alhassan, spokesperson for the association, members of the association being experienced miners themselves after interrogating the issue demanded critical answers to these questions for the general public to draw relevant conclusions, for justification.
On the issue of posing as military men,
evidential pictures and videos to confirm the appearance of the suspects as genuine GNASSM task force members were shown to the media
The association is also questioning why five men were arrested but only three were paraded for the screens and publication.
They revealed that the two persons who were not paraded were Prince Amo, a cameraman for the taskforce and one Alhassan Acquah who alleges to be the owner of the concession they visited .
Three persons out of five were paraded on Thursday by the National Security Operatives on charges of alleged impersonation, extortion and harassment at Kusbee Mining Company limited in Watereso on Amansie West District of Ashanti.
But reacting to all the allegations, GNASSM concludes that all charges are unsubstantiated.
They also do not understand why the suspects are being kept in military instead of handing them over to the police to investigate the matter.
Meanwhile, a visit to the site of the Kusbee Mining Company limited by a media team and having interview with one Kwabena Tawia, a foreman for the site confirmed that the said men never visited the place to extort money.
The according the defense of GNASSM, they only went there to clamp down on some miners who they suspected were then engaged in an illigal mining activity.
Communication Director for GNASSM further revealed that the association was very much aware some individuals within the security institutions and political actors who are playing various roles in the illegal mining fight are not happy about the activities of the taskforce, hence an agenda to tarnish their reputation and competency to the eyes of government.