E/R: Seven citizens shot at Abirim

Seven people, who were protesting against Newmont Ghana Akyem mine, have sustained injuries after police had fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse them at Abirem in the Birim North District of the Eastern Region.

According to reports, three among the demonstrators were arrested but were later freed following the intervention of the area authorities.

One of the injured was in critical condition and has been transferred to the Koforidua Hospital while the rest had been treated and discharged from the Abirem Government Hospital at the time of filing this report.

The farmers in the mining area have been agitating over the past three years for a compensation package from Newmont following the takeover of their farmlands.

The demonstrators numbering about 100 on Tuesday morning besieged the entrance of the mining company and allegedly blocked roads and also burnt car tyres to prevent the workers from going to the site.

The angry police officers who were called to restore order allegedly fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the ‘charged’ farmers.

According to some of the farmers who spoke with the Daily Guide, “they fired at the crowd to make way for workers of the mining company to access the site. At a point, we realised the police did not come to protect; instead they came to fight against us.”

According to the aggressive farmers, “No mining company has come here except Newmont so we were unaware of the implications of its presence and had very little knowledge of what to do so we accepted its compensation without question, but we soon realised we were being cheated’’.

They lamented “there were legal lapses in our agreements. We found out they gave us only a year’s compensation  . . .  Following the legal tussle, it was agreed we had a case and Newmont owed pay us our due.”

The farmers noted that “Newmont always tried to stop us from demonstrating by giving us false hopes. They even convinced us to withdraw the matter from court.”

Meanwhile, all attempts to get the authorities of Newmont for comment(s) on the incident at press time proved unsuccessful.

Daily Guide

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