A joint security operation aimed at forcing out dwellers of a 138.64-hectare forest reserve in the Tamale metropolis has led to the arrest of six people.
The operation forms part of a widespread exercise by the Tamale Mayor, Musah Superior to clean up the city.
The Mayor issued nearly a 5-week ultimatum to the occupants transacting illicit activities in the forest to stop and evacuate. The caveat followed police intelligence that all forms of criminal acts including sex trade, teenage prostitution and the sale of marijuana were booming inside the forest.
The place became a popular hideout and joint where even female teenagers entered to comfortably smoke wee and abuse drugs such as tramadol and offer sex to continue living. It had also been turned into a dumping and defecating site until he sanctioned the operation.
Dozens of armed soldiers, helmeted police in riot gears and petrol and cutlasses wielding Metropolitan Taskforce stormed the forest and hacked down structures, damaged items before setting fire on pavilions and wooden benches.
The entire forest reserve was a community of its own and believed to have at least one thousand occupants, majority being children as little as 10 to 17 engaging in all kinds of badmanism.
Six persons arrested with big nylon bags containing substances believed to be wee were taken away by the police. Many other dwellers were chased away, however, hundreds had already left before the security team besieged the forest.
Speaking to Starr News after day one of the operation, Public Relations Officer Issah Salifu Musah said the exercise went well as planned. He explained that over 70 contingent embarking on the swoop were grouped into four and they squared the reserve.
Mr. Musah added that the arrested would be handed over to the police for further investigation.
“The exercise has gotten off to a good start, it’s been fantastic, gone according to plan. We had to divide the taskforce into four groups and you witnessed the arrest of about five in the swoop that we conducted”
“We are going to handover to the police contingent to send them to their station to interrogate them and try to establish whether or not they have some breaches of the law, in other words, if their investigation proves that they have not conducted themselves properly and that the law frowns on their conduct then so be it, the law will take its course,” Mr. Musah indicated.