Renewed clashes over salt mining rights at Ada Songor between residents of Sege and Electrochem Ghana Limited, a salt mining firm, has left one person dead and over 25 people severely injured.
The deceased was reportedly shot during the violent clash yesterday between the residents and members of a taskforce protecting the company’s mining concession at Sege in the Greater Accra Region.
While the company maintains that it is protecting its mining rights on a concession, the angry residents insist they are fighting for their livelihood.
An ultra-modern salt mining and processing plant at Ada Songor owned by Electrochem Ghana Limited, was commissioned on August 30, 2023 by President Akufo-Addo, despite stern opposition and persistent protests from residents of the area.
The company secured a concession of 41,000 acres at Ada Songor to produce 1million metric tons of salt per annum to supply to local and export markets, making it the largest salt mine in Africa.
Although Electrochem claims that it has conducted about 95 community engagements to secure the cooperation of the residents, sections of communities in the Ada songor lagoon enclave are not enthused.
Eyewitnesses indicate that the District Chief Executive of the area, who had gone to the scene to assess the situation, was also assaulted.
According to them, the members of the taskforce, who the residents described as landguards, stormed Toflokpo, one of the salt mining communities, and attacked the residents, warning them against entering the concession.
As a result, the residents of Toflokpo, also massed up and retaliated, resulting in the gunshots and injuries.
Nene Mayilo Dadebom II, Chief of Toflokpo, accused Electrochem of using force against the community members who depend on the lagoon for their livelihood.
“We are not opposed to development, but we will not be prevented from continuing what we have been doing for years for our livelihood,” he stated.
Christian Corleytey Otuteye, Member of Parliament for Sege, is calling for “cool heads and further dialogue” to prevent the situation from further escalating.
“The area is becoming a war zone and it looks as if we are playing with this thing,” he is quoted in a CitiFM report, stressing the need for urgent action by all stakeholders to resolve the conflict.
“I think there is something definitely wrong. The youth were very angry when I went there. The people are also fighting for their daily bread. I’m not against the development which Electrochem is doing, but the people you are doing it for must enjoy what you are doing. Dialogue must come in,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Electrochem Ghana has confirmed the presence of its taskforce in the community to prevent intrusion on its concession, but rejected claims that the taskforce shot at the residents.