Armed military officers fired gunshots into the air on Tuesday to disperse some youth who had massed up at the Obuasi District Police Command to demand the release of some illegal miners in custody.
The youth in their numbers burnt car tyres close to the police command to protest the arrest of the illegal miners.
The miners were arrested after they exited a mine shaft belonging to AngloGold Obuasi Mine at Anwiam in the Obuasi East District.
There was a military deployment to maintain order and the officers upon arrival fired gunshots to disperse the youth.
Fifteen of the miners have however been granted bail while the rest are being interrogated.
It is however unclear the number of illegal miners still in the shaft as authorities were making efforts to enable their exit.
The police have arrested 48 illegal miners following their emergence from a mine shaft belonging to AngloGold Ashanti on Tuesday afternoon.
These individuals were part of a group of 300 illegal miners who had entered the mine shaft in search of gold deposits but became trapped in one of the shafts.
The police and military were deployed at the main exit of the shaft and instructed the miners to come out voluntarily. Subsequently, they were arrested and taken to a nearby police station.
In response to the arrests, a gathering of youth and relatives of the miners assembled at the Obuasi East District Assembly, demanding the release of the detainees.
The tense situation led to some individuals expressing their frustration by damaging the windows of a vehicle used to transport the arrested miners to the police station.
A significant number of miners have chosen to remain underground out of fear of being arrested.
On Tuesday, AngloGold Ashanti refuted suggestions that the over 300 illegal miners trapped in one of the company’s mine shafts were confined and unable to exit.
In a statement from the mining firm, it was explained that the trapped miners have not been confined and can exit on foot via the existing ramp from the mine.
“Unauthorized persons underground are able to exit on foot, using the existing ramp through the main access of this mining area. No person underground has been confined in any way, and the main exit ramp from the mine remains open.
“Obuasi Gold Mine’s management team has notified the relevant authorities and public security services and is working closely with them.”
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