Chinese miners in Ghana (File photo: gmw.cn)
ACCRA, June 5 (Xinhua) -- The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) on Wednesday disclosed that 124 suspected Chinese illegal miners were detained in Accra, the capital of the West African country.
Francis Palmdeti, the head of public affairs of the GIS, told Xinhua in a telephonic interview that the Chinese arrestees were involved in illegal gold mining in the central region of Ashanti, as well as in western and eastern regions.
Some of them have overstayed without legal documents. The GIS are conducting further investigation to decide how many of them should be repatriated.
The Chinese Embassy in Ghana confirmed the arrests to Xinhua on Wednesday. The Embassy's spokenperson, Yu Jie, said the embassy has urged the Ghanaian government to ensure the legal rights of the arrested personnel and called for strong discipline for Ghana security agencies in enforcing laws.
"We have cautioned all the Chinese people in Ghana to strictly abide by the related laws and regulations and never to be misled by the unauthorized information in internet, " Yu said.
The embassy is keeping contact with the Ghanaian government over the issue, he added. Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama inaugurated a high- powered inter-ministerial committee to deal with the menace of illegal mining in the country on May 14. The committee has also been mandated to ensure that the activities of illegal small-scale miners are brought to a halt.
Ghana comes next to South Africa in the continent in terms of gold deposits, in addition to reserves of bauxite, diamond and manganese.
Under Ghanaian laws, foreign companies are only allowed to work independently on large mines.
There have been many incidents of foreign nationals being arrested for illegal gold mining this year, leading to a crackdown by Ghanaian authorities on the activity.