Flashback: Chinese miners have had brushes with locals in the past
Police in Bekwai have arrested a Chinese illegal miner who is alleged to have shot and wounded three Ghanaians with an AK-47 assault rifle.
The suspect, Xia Gui Xiang, was arrested five days ago and has been remanded in police custody pending further investigations. His victims, who were rushed to the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, are receiving emergency medical care.
The victims, identified as Kofi Bobie, Kwame Kyerematen and Kwaku Manu, were reportedly shot when they, along with others from Manso Abodom in the Amansie West District of the Ashanti Region, entered the camp of the Chinese, who were mining illegally on Finger Mining Limited's concession.
Another Chinese and two Ghanaians, who were part of the group operating with Xiang, have also been arrested for conducting illegal mining activities on the same concession.
The three, whose names were not immediately released, have already been granted police enquiry bail pending further investigations into their case.
The Chinese were alleged to have been mining illegally in the concessional area of Finger Mining limited, a small-scale mining company with legal rights to the land, for almost a year. The situation apparently created tension in the Abodom community and its environs.
Briefing journalists on the arrest, the Bekwai Divisional Police Commander Chief Superintendent Kwasi Akomea-Apraku, said that on Tuesday February 5, 2013, youth from Abodom had gathered at their chief's palace where they complained about the illegal mining operation.
He reported that the youth also accused the community chief of collecting money from the Chinese and allowing them to mine.
Mr Akomea-Apraku said that from the chief's palace, the youth marched to the Chinese camp and allegedly started looting, making off with gold ore, black gold and an unspecified amount of money.
According to Chief Superintendent Akomea-Apraku, as the youth continued to ransack the camp, the Chinese alerted Xiang, who was not at the camp at that time.
He said as soon as Xiang was notified about the looting, he rushed to the camp and fired on the youth, seriously injuring three of them.
Expressing concern about the situation, Chief Superintendent Akomea-Apraku urged the youth never to take the law into their own hands, but to rather collaborate with law enforcement agencies whenever they are aggrieved.
He said that regardless of the circumstances surrounding to the shooting, the police would quickly investigate and prosecute those found to have breached the law.