The Tepa Circuit Court in the Ashanti Region has remanded into prison custody four illegal miners who invaded the Desiri Forest Reserve.
The reserve, which is under the jurisdiction of Mankraso District Forestry, is situated at Asuakaw in the Asutifi South District of the Ahafo Region.
The suspects are Nkoah Michael, 34; Agyemang Duah, Akwasi Agyare, both all aged 40 and 31-year-old Simon Amponsah.
They were caught red-handed on Monday after escaping arrest earlier.
Their not guilty plea was not taken when they appeared before the Tepa Circuit Court presided by His Lordship Jonson Abbey who remanded them into prison custody to re-appear on May 28, 2019.
The accused persons at the time of their arrest had caused minimal damage to the 150.95-kilometre forest reserve by digging deep mining pits in search of gold.
Officials of the Forestry Commission discovered the nefarious activities of the illegal miners through routine surveillance and patrols in the reserve about a month ago.
Though they managed to escape, luck, however, eluded them when the Rapid Response Team with the support of range manager and forest guards arrested them subsequently.
Godwin Agyemang is Mankraso District Forestry Manager
Officials at the Mankraso District Forestry say operations of the illegal miners, if not stopped immediately, could encourage the use of earth-moving machinery such as excavators and bulldozers for illegal mining activities at the reserve.
District Forestry Manager, Godwin Agyemang, told Nhyira FM that the arrest was timely.
“We are aware of what these illegal miners can do to the forest reserve if allowed to fester. We have a mandate to protect the forest and that’s exactly what we are doing,” he said.
Officials of the District Forestry last year destroyed several hectares of illegal farms encroached upon by farmers in the reserve.
Mr Agyemang gave the assurance that his outfit will continue to monitor and arrest recalcitrant trespassers on the reserve.
“This should serve as a caution to all potential intruders that, we will not rest on oars until they are brought to book,” he warned.