The Chief, Nana Opoku Kyei II, was reported to have ordered the Asafo group to beat up hundreds of residents of Dannso who had declared their support for government to flush out illegal small scale miners in Dannso whose devastating activities have destroyed vast water bodies, forest reserves and large tracts of farmlands.
In the process, one of the residents named, Mr. Yaw Amoah, sustained knife wounds on his face who is currently in critical condition at a hospital in the town.
"We have looked unconcerned for soo long and we believe this is the hour we need to rise and defend our lands and natural resources from incessant depletion by the activities of the small scale miners," they stated.
According to the residents, "barely seven years ago, there were attempts by some groups of people to enter the Danno forest reserve or zone to start galamsey operations.
"We resisted that attempt and in the process destooled our chief whom we felt was conniving with the group in their quest to operate in the forest," the leadership of the residents in Dannso in the persons of Mr. Kwame Boateng, Nana Kyei and Mr. Kwame Antwi told journalists.
Addressing a press conference in Danso on Thursday, August 18, 2022, Mr. Kwame Boateng, Nana Kyei and Mr Kwame Antwi noted that for the past six years, they have been without a chief until recently when they had to find favour in another to install him as the chief of the Dannso community.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we were summoned by the current chief at Danso at the gathering two months ago where he disclosed the intentions of another group who were seeking to 'mine' in the same forest," they said.
According to them, they rejected the idea but questioned their documentations and they sought to go and finalise their documents.
They stated that at the said meeting it was alleged that the Executive Secretary of the President of Ghana, Nana Asante Bediatuo, was the one behind the group, adding that "In fact he was present at the meeting."
They pointed out that few days afterwards it was rumoured that they have brought the documents with 10 brand new excavators to start their operations in the Danso forest reserve.
"We hurriedly assessed the so-called documentations and referred them to the Minerals Commission at Konongo and Kumasi," they explained.
They indicated that Minerals Commission stated categorically that those documents were fake, adding that "They further directed the group to desist from any attempt to enter their forest zone.
They explained that some days after we reported again to the Minerals Commission that they have started their operations.
They maintained that the Minerals Commission came to Dannso and again ordered that they move out with immediate effect.
They pointed out that about 85% of the people of Dannso clad in red and black demonstrated against the group over their desperate attempt but it seems that was not enough.
"The next time we saw a number of armed military men and macho men protecting the supposed miners against the natives of the community. Some of us were subjected to severe beatings and wounded, but when we reported the matter to the police in Bosome Freho District Police, the police never turned up ," they revealed.
According to the residents, the military men now visit the community at night to man the area as the group freely go on with their illegal mining operations.
"Now we asked the Bosome Freho DISEC and Ashanti REGSEC headed by the DCE and Regional Minister if they indeed sanctioned the presence of the military in the community to intimidate and beat the natives up?, they angrily asked.
They maintained that the Minerals Commission has cooperated professionally with the residents in the district until three days ago where they have avoided all our calls."
They asked that "Could it be that a hand from above have been laid on their professional duties?
They pointed out that "Nana Asante Bediatuo never realised the deplorable roads in Bosome Freho to advise or write to the President but has seen the need to drive 'tear rubber' excavators to Bosome Freho to engage in galamsey."
"Why these inhumane treatment, we are firm, resolute and highly convinced that galamsey is not the solution to our problems and we shall resist till the last drop of our blood," they fumed.
However, several attempts made by this reporter to get Nana Opoku Kyei II and Executive Secretary of the President of Ghana Nana Asante Bediatuo to respond to the allegations levelled against them have proved unsuccessful.