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Ghana detains 43 suspected Chinese illegal miners

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-11-01 13:46

ACCRA - Ghanaian authorities have detained 43 Chinese nationals for suspected illegal gold mining, the Chinese embassy confirmed Thursday.

The embassy said it was consulting with related Ghanaian authorities to handle the issue properly.

Earlier Thursday, the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) said it had detained 43 suspected illegal miners from China.

The detainees were arrested at Dunkwa-on-offin, 267 km northwest of the capital, where they had allegedly been engaged in illegal mining, GIS Public Relations chief Francis Palmdeti told Xinhua.

Two Indians and one American were also detained.

"The arrest was in line with the President's directive to clamp down on illegal miners in the country," Palmdeti added.

Ghana's immigration authority has retrieved their passports for scrutiny to ascertain whether they are in the country lawfully, said Palmdeti.

"The options open to us are release, prosecution or repatriation, depending on the outcome of our investigations," he said.

In May, President John Dramani Mahama inaugurated an inter-ministerial task force to fight illegal small-scale mining. The unit was authorized to arrest and prosecute domestic illegal miners and deport foreign ones.

A total of 3,877 foreigners engaged in illegal mining in Ghana had been repatriated by July.

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