A team of military and police personnel from Koforidua and Suhum, have arrested eight galamsey operators, who took over a piece of land belonging to the Abuakwa State College and Community School for the Deaf at Kyebi for mining.
The suspects whose names were not given out for security reasons were arrested on Saturday night upon a tip-off after they had carried out the illegal mining on the land.
The area has been earmarked for a school park and other development projects for the school.
The illegal miners had been placed in police custody assisting the security in their investigations to arrest other suspects who managed to escape arrest.
Items retrieved from the illegal miners included 12 water pumping machines, eight power generators, six excavators and other equipment used for the operations.
The Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, who led a team of journalists to the site, was astonished at the extent of damage caused to the land at different locations. The Birim River, the main source of water for the people, has been polluted.
Addressing the security personnel, Mr Ofosu-Ampofo commended them for the good work done and assured them that Government was ready to provide them with all the necessary logistics to combat the activities of illegal miners.
He described galamsey operation as a major security threat in the Region and appealed to all stakeholders to join hands with the Regional Security Council (REGSEC), to bring the perpetrators to book.
Mr Ofosu-Ampofo said Government and the Mineral Commission were ready to give licenses to small-scale miners so that their activities could be carefully monitored and also pay taxes to the state.
He said from the beginning of this year alone about 80 water pumping machines had been seized from galamsey operators from different areas in the Region. The items are with the police in Koforidua.
A few weeks ago, two children from Kyebi fell into a galamsey pit full of water and died.