The military high command is angry over a bloody confrontation that left two soldiers seriously wounded: one in critical condition at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.
Armed officers of the 4th infantry battalion in Kumasi were ambushed as they attempted to flush out the illegal miners who had taken over Koniyaw Forest Reserve in the Bekwai Municipality of the Ashanti Region.
The irate miners also vandalized two vehicles including a Toyota Hilux Pick Up with registration number GT 2589 U and a KIA truck used by the military-forestry team.
The military is therefore determined to deploy its full force to flush out hundreds of illegal miners in Ashanti Regional Town of Bekwai.
Nhyira FM’s Ohemeng Tawiah who visited the soldiers at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital on Friday told Joy FM’s Top Story that one of the injured soldiers, Corporal Osei Bonsu whose condition was described as minor has been treated and discharged from the hospital’s Accident and Emergency Centre.
But Staff Sergeant Christopher Tanieh who led the military officers in that operation was still on admission and in critical condition.
Christopher Tanieh was rushed to the accident and emergency centre in an unconscious state, but he has regained consciousness. He suffered a fractured leg, injury to the head and other parts of the body, doctors said.
Also, doctors attending to him said he is suffering from "generalized body pain" but assured that he has a high survival chance. Doctors said series of tests would be carried on him to ascertain the extent of head injury while preparation was underway to work on the fractured leg.
The mob managed to seize a fully loaded rifle from the soldiers as the bloody confrontation ensued, but was later retrieved without the part containing the bullets, the commander of the 4th infantry battalion in the Ashanti Region, Lt. Col Stephen Kwabena Parbey confirmed to Nhyira News.
He said they are still looking for some ID cards and other valuables belonging to the soldiers that got lost during the attack.
Meanwhile, Lt. Col Stephen Kwabena Parbey said the casualties suffered by the military will not deter them from continuing with the operation to flush the illegal miners out.
“This would not prevent us from carrying out our lawful duty. We have the a responsibility as citizens, first of all, to make sure that what we inherited as people from our forefathers are protected and passed on to the next generation and then generations yet unborn.
"So if in our duty to protect national resources we get wounded and anything happen to us, we will take it that yes it is happening to us in our line of duty and it will not discourage us or whatsoever.”
Another team was dispatched to the area less than 24 hours after the incident, and Lieutenant Colonel Parbey explained:
“We needed to go back there for two reasons: one for the riffle that was taken from the soldiers. The soldiers succeeded in prevailing on the chief of the area and then they had the weapon back. However it came without the magazine so we are going back there to look for that magazine and their ID cards and other valuables which dropped from them during the attack.
"Then again, they are also going to try and locate those who were involved in the attack and arrest them and hand them over to the police."
Noah Asante Manu, Municipal Chief Executive for Bekwai, said the town is now calm as some residents engage in brisk business. He said 22 people arrested earlier by the military on Friday have been handed over to the police in Bekwai .
Meanehile, ASP Allen Pogtaah who is the Bekwai Divisional Crime Officer said everybody deserted the town after the attack yesterday but one person was arrested.
He said the 23 persons arrested would be screened whilst investigations continue.