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Catholic Priests backs gov’t galamsey fight with ‘operation touch heaven’

Some Catholic Priests from areas where there is illegal mining activities in the Central Region have launched a campaign to support government efforts to end the menace.

The campaign christened ‘Operation touch heaven’ is for the priests to intercede in prayers on behalf of government officials and media personnel who are committed to the anti-galamsey fight.

The priests at a news conference at Jukwa Krobo Wednesday, said the galamsey fight will not be sustainable if it is not backed by prayers by religious leaders and their members.

Mining on the Ankobrah River
Priest in-charge of Jukwa Krobo Immaculate Heart of Mary Grotto, Reverend Father David Paintsil said the campaign will rally the various religious faiths to support the work of the media and government in the galamsey fight.

“We are going to pray until it ends…we are not going to challenge the government, but we will do our part as citizens to support it,” he said.

Rev Father Paintsil told Joy News’ Central Regional Correspondent, Kwadwo Nyarko the Campaign was started because they [priests] appreciated the complex nature of the anti-galamsey fight.

He was forthright that the country needs a “divine intervention and help from above” to be able to stop illegal mining in the country.

Ghana is losing its water bodies and forest reserve to activities of illegal miners. The Tano River in the Brong Ahafo Region has dried up for the first time in 40 years. Residents of the Region have blamed the development on galamsey activities.

The Brim River in the Eastern Region and Ankobrah River in the Western Region have been muddied to an extent that Ghana Water Company says it will cost more money for treatment.

Experts have warned the country might import water from its neighbours in 2020 if the current practice is not stopped.

Lands Minister, John Peter Amewu has been visiting some illegal mining sites after a three week ultimatum to galamsey operators to halt their operation elapsed.

He has asked the nine mining inspectors across the country to proceed on leave for being lax in the galamsey fight.

Government has drafted the Multilateral Mining Integration Project (MMIP) that is expected to provide an alternative means of livelihood to the people who will be displaced as a result of the campaign.

According to Mr Amewu, the five-year programme will ensure that mining in the country are done in an eco-friendly manner.

The Catholic Priests said their campaign is also targeted at creating awareness about the environmental and health dangers of galamsey in the Central Region.

“We need to educate our members in the churches and mosques to also discourage the menace,” Rev Father Paintsil said.

Story by Ghana | | Austin Brako-Powers | [email protected]