Emmanuel Fordjour, a 20 year old taxi driver, suspected to be part of the copper stealing gang, in the Obuasi municipality has been reminded by the Obuasi Circuit Court, into police custody for attempting to steal 6.6mm cooper cables that supply electric power to Jimi River.
The 7-km power line from the Obuasi power station to the Jimi Dam was vandalized by the gang - is the main source of power which pumps water to the downstream communities and the AngloGold Ashanti mine from the Jimi Dam. For the past 20 days the gangs, believed to be residents of the local communities, has cut more than 25 poles and stolen three kilometer - long high - grade cooper, according Obuasi police sources.
The river takes its source from the Asokwa/Kussa hills in the Adansi South District and serves as the major source of drinking water to upstream and downstream communities, most of whom are cash and food crops farmers. The worst affected communities are Tutuka, Ahansodywodia, Kriki, Anyinam, Odumasi and the Obuasi mine’s estate houses and the Arthur Cade Hospital. “We have no water to drink and clean’” Simon Nyatankyi of Adoaniyida, a suburb of Obuasi said with trembling voice.
The hospital is the second largest medical facility in Ashanti Region, treats almost 500 patients on the mine and from the communities on daily basis. Lack of adequate water to deliver services to patients meant that it cannot deliver the quality services associated with the facility. “The water problem is a major issue and it could force us to suspend the running of the facility”, Richard Cromwell has warned.
The Police Prosecutor told the court that the accused has given vital leads to the police and that the Police would require more time in order to apprehend the five other suspected accomplices who are on the run. The matter has been adjourned to December 10, 2014 for the resumption of the trial.
Speaking to the local press in Obuasi at Jimiso, John Owusu, General Manager –Communications and Public Affairs appealed to all the law abiding people in the communities who have information on the activities of the unscrupulous cable stealing gang to contact the police or the mine security for the arrest of persons behind and involved in this heinous crime, so that we will continue to enjoying water freely from Jimi at all year round. “Water is life, so with your help, these criminals will be put at places where they belong – prison, so that we get back our lives”, M r Owusu said.
Meanwhile AngloGold Ashanti are working flat-out to replace all the destroyed steel poles and the stolen cooper cables to get power to the Jimi pumping station in other to restore adequate water supply to the communities. The replacement cost is yet to be ascertained by company sources are looking at just over one million dollars to fully complete the job.
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