The anti-illegal mining task force commissioned last week on Sunday evening clashed with suspected illegal miners at Wawase in Obuasi, leaving one illegal miner dead.
The Public Relations Officer of Operation Vanguard, Major Gariba Pabi, said around 17:00 GMT personnel from the Ashanti Region on patrol met stone-pelting illegal miners at Wawase, a community in Obuasi notorious for galamsey.
He said as the task force moved on the illegal miners they fired a gun at the patrol, and in a bid to protect themselves, the team fired back to disperse the agitated miners.
After the illegal miners had escaped, the task force found that one of the illegal miners had been shot, Major Pabi said.
The injured illegal miner was given first aid and sent to the hospital but was later pronounced dead by doctors.
“We didn’t intend to start this operation with blood. No that is not why we are here. We are here to ensure that illegal mining is stopped and our environment is protected,” said Major Pabi.
Major Gariba said the identity of the deceased miner is yet to be ascertained, but said the incident could have been avoided had the illegal miners not cause an upset.
“They were pelting stones maybe to reduce the speed of our people from arresting them so they have to also fight back and run,” said Major Pabi.
The rest of the miners escaped, but Major Pabi is confident they will be arrested.
A total of 82 people have since been arrested by personnel of Operation Vanguard, the combined team of military and police personnel tasked with stamping out illegal mining activities in the country.