MAC: Mines and Communities

Another shooting at AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi Mine

Published by MAC on 2011-08-23
Source: Joyonline, Ghana Business News, statement (2011-08-24)

23-year-old man dies in hospital

Another shooting incident at AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi Mine

Joyonline

15 August 2011

There has been another shooting incident at the AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi Mine during which 23-year-old Kwame Eric of Binsere, near Obuasi, was shot by a detail of a private security organisation engaged by the Company.

He was shot at the South Tailings Storage Facility near Dokyiwa Village on Wednesday, August 10, at approximately 1930 hours.

A release signed by Mr John Owusu, General Manager, Public Affairs of AngloGold Ashanti, Ghana, said: "Initial reports suggest that a group unlawfully entered the South Tailings Storage Dam area and an employee of Ghanatta Security Services, a private firm under contract with Obuasi Mine, allegedly discharged a firearm hitting a 23 year old man from Binsere in the back."

The release said: "Following the shooting, the injured man was taken to Government Hospital in Obuasi by colleagues. AngloGold Ashanti subsequently provided medical assistance from the Company's hospital in Obuasi and transported the injured individual by Company ambulance to Kumasi Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital. AngloGold Ashanti has arranged for specialist care, is committed to bearing the full costs of treatment, and is closely monitoring his condition."

It said: "The incident was immediately reported to the Obuasi Central Police Station for further investigation, and the Municipal Commissioner for Human Rights and Administrative Justice has been briefed on the case."

According to the release Mr Kwesi Enyan, Managing Director of the Obuasi Mine, has said: "We are committed to helping this individual recover and we sympathize with him and his family as they go through this trying situation. AngloGold Ashanti remains committed to ensuring that all employees, security companies, and all other contractors working with us, respect human rights and conduct themselves in full compliance with our policies, protocols and guidelines."

Commenting on the incident, Mr Daniel Owusu-Koranteng, Executive Director of Wacam, a human rights and mining advocacy non-governmental organization, told the Ghana News Agency in Accra that AngloGold Ashanti should be held fully responsible for what has happened.

He condemned the act and said the Company has signed on to the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, which stated that companies that employed the services of security agencies were liable to their actions that violated human rights.

Mr Owusu-Koranteng said it was illegal for private security agencies to carry firearms and must act in accordance with internationally recognized human rights protocols, adding; "mining companies in Ghana are taking the laws into their own hands and perpetrating the jungle law of instant justice instead of strengthening the rule of law in the country."

He recalled the shooting of Mr Awudu Mohammed by a team of security personnel made up of the Company's Security and the Police at Sansu, near Obuasi in 2005, in which the intestines of the victim gushed out.

Mr Owusu-Koranteng said Mr Mohammed had since undergone three surgical operations and has been rendered incapable of working to earn a living and carried a tube in his urinary tract.


AngloGold Ashanti reports death of victim in shooting incident

Ghana Business News

16 August 2011

A 23-year old man, who was allegedly shot by a private security man on duty at South Tailings Storage facility of the Obuasi Mine, was on Sunday reported dead at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi.

The deceased, Kwame Eric, married with two daughters was said to have illegally entered the storage dam with a group when the incident happened.

A press statement issued on Monday afternoon by AngloGold Ashanti (AGA) quoted the Managing Director of the Obuasi Mine, Mr Kwesi Enyan as saying: "Our heartfelt sympathies go to the family of the deceased." He reiterated the Company's resolve to pursue internal investigations of the incident.

The statement said: "The incident is currently a subject of on-going Police investigation and AGA Ghana is fully supporting the Police investigation into the matter, which allegedly involved an employee of a private security firm contracted to AngloGold Ashanti."

Meanwhile, a high-powered delegation from the Mine led by the Managing Director was expected to visit the family of the deceased at Binsere, near Obuasi.

Mr Enyan has re-affirmed the Company's commitment to the internationally recognized human rights protocols and had served warning to security personnel employed by firms working with AGA in Ghana.

The deceased was shot last Wednesday August 10th at about 1930 hours during a shooting incident at the Mine by a detail of a private security organisation.

Eric was initially sent to the Government Hospital in Obuasi by colleagues. Subsequently he was provided medical assistance from the Company's hospital in Obuasi but was later transferred to Kumasi Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.

The Company reported the matter to the Obuasi Central Police Station and the Municipal Commissioner for Human Rights and Administrative Justice.

Commenting on the incident, Mr Daniel Owusu-Koranteng, Executive Director of WACAM, a human rights and mining advocacy non-governmental organization, told the Ghana News Agency in Accra that AngloGold Ashanti should be held fully responsible for the incident.

He condemned the act and said the Company had signed on to the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights that stated that companies which employed the services of security agencies were liable for their actions that violated human rights.

Mr Owusu-Koranteng said it was illegal for private security agencies to carry firearms and that they must act in accordance with internationally recognized human rights protocols.


Human rights violations continue in Ghana's mining sector

Oxfam America Press Release

24 August 2011

Oxfam America calls on the government and mining companies to bring responsible parties to justice and put an end to human rights abuses

WASHINGTON, DC-- International humanitarian organization Oxfam America calls on Ghana's government to address ongoing human rights violations in the West African nation's mining industry. The call to action comes after 23-year old Kwame Eric was shot to death August 10 by an employee of Ghanatta Security Services, a private security firm hired by gold mining company, Anglo Gold Ashanti.

"This is unfortunately the latest in a string of human rights abuses that have been occurring in Ghana's mining sector over the years," said Keith Slack, program manager of Oxfam America's oil, gas and mining program based in Washington, D.C. "The Ghanaian government should carry out a thorough investigation and bring those responsible to justice."

According to news reports, Eric, a suspected illegal miner, was shot in the back near the South Tailings Storage Facility of Anglo Gold Ashanti's Obuasi mine. The shooting follows other human rights abuses by security forces hired by the same mining company. In 2005, Awudu Mohammed, another alleged illegal miner, was also shot in the back near Obuasi. In 2009, Anthony Baidoo from Ghana's Tebrerbie community was shot and maimed when he along with other farmers cut through a rock waste dump that blocked access to their farms.

"Police and private security companies working for mining companies in Ghana often forcibly evict people from mining areas without adequate respect for their basic rights," said Moussa Ba, coordinator of Oxfam America's oil, gas and mining program in West Africa. "We call on Anglo Gold Ashanti to independently verify that it is in compliance with the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, a global set of human rights for security forces working for oil and mining companies."

Formerly known as the Gold Coast, Ghana has struggled to properly regulate the mining industry. This lack of adequate oversight has contributed to poverty and conflict between security forces working for mining companies and local communities. In 2008, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Ghana's governmental human rights agency, issued a comprehensive report in which it found a widespread pattern of human rights abuses in the mining the sector.

Civil society organizations such as WACAM, a group with a long history of supporting mining-affected communities have been criticized for calling attention to these abuses and defending community rights, including around Anglo Gold Ashanti's projects in the areas of Obuasi and Tarkwa. Oxfam America supports the work of these organizations to raise awareness of human rights abuses in the mining sector.

"Organizations like WACAM can play a critical role in helping Ghana address ongoing human rights problems. All actors involved, including civil society organizations, mining companies and in particular CHRAJ should work together to urgently address these human rights concerns," said Richard Hato-Kuevor, program officer for Oxfam America's oil, gas and mining program in Ghana.

For more information, contact:

Jessica Forres, Extractive Industries and Humanitarian Press Officer
(202) 777-2914 (office)
(202) 460-8272 (mobile)

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