Nineteen people who claim to be national security operatives have been arrested by the police in the Eastern Region for illegal mining in the Atewa forest reserve.
Kwabena Adu-Bonnah of the Kade District Forestry Commission confirmed the arrests to Asaase News‘s Eastern Regional correspondent, John Attafuah.
This follows a clash between irate residents and the suspects in the Akyem-Akanteng portion of the Atewa forest reserve. Local residents had earlier vowed to resist illegal mining in the forest reserve in general.
The suspects, according to the forestry officials, invaded the reserve in Akyem-Akanteng bearing sophisticated rifles at dawn on Tuesday (4 May), under the pretence of clamping down on illegal miners.
The suspects, who were on board five Toyota Land Cruiser V8s, were dressed in military uniform.
Angry residents reportedly deflated the tyres of the V8s used in the operation.
The suspects are currently in the custody of the Eastern Regional Police Command in Koforidua, assisting with investigations.
Listen to Kwabena Adu-Bonnah in the audio below: